Missouri Dept. of Conservation

First Missouri Elk Harvested With a Bow Out of Just 5 Issued Tags

History was made as the first harvest in Missouri's modern elk hunting season occurred on October 18, 2021.

The Missouri Department of Conservation shared news of the first elk successfully harvested with archery equipment in the state's new hunting season, one in which only five tags were awarded.

In a Facebook post, the Dept. of Conservation said the elk was shot with a bow by Chris Irick of Pleasant Hope. He killed the elk in Shannon County late in the evening on October 18, and found it early the next morning. Interestingly enough, a bear hunter spotted the elk before Irick did, and reported it to the MDC.

That led to a slightly strange encounter for Conservation Agent Logan Brawley, who responded to the bear hunter's call. When he reached the scene, he heard Irick hollering at him, but couldn't see him.

"As it turned out, Chris had climbed up about 16 feet in a tree over the elk, making his best effort for cell service to get the elk called in to Telecheck," the MDC said in the Facebook post.

Luckily, "The meat was still good with cool overnight temperatures," according to the MDC.

Missouri's 2021 elk hunting season was the second on record, having first occurred last season in 2020. Up until this mature bull, no one had been successful with archery equipment.

It's a story of successful restoration for elk in Missouri, a state where the large ungulates are native but were hunted to extinction. According to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), volunteer work and significant funding helped restore the elk population in their historic Missouri range in 2011 after nearly 20 years of effort. "RMEF and its partners completed 133 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Missouri with a combined value of more than $2.9 million that enhanced 11,004 acres of habitat," the Foundation said.

Missouri's archery season continues through October 24 while the rifle season is December 11-19.

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