West Virginians received a Christmas birthday in 2016 when 24 elk were reintroduced onto the landscape just before Christmas. Nine months later, the herd is enjoying its first fall season back on its historic range.
“This is the time of the year where the bulls have regrown their antlers, and they’ve rubbed off the velvet now—a little earlier than what most whitetail deer do. We’re into their breeding season—September and October—and this is when the bulls are bugling. Number one, it’s to attract the cows. It lets that cow know—hey, I’m over here. It allows other bulls to know—hey, I’m over here; this is part of my territory,” Randy Kelley, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources elk project leader, told WCHS-TV.
There are currently an estimated 22 elk in West Virginia with more scheduled to reintroduced this winter.
“We’ve came to an agreement basically with the state of Arizona to trap and transport elk from Arizona to West Virginia. They’ve agreed to give us this year up to 60 elk,” said Kelley.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is proud to have assisted with the successful West Virginia reintroduction and is standing by to help with future efforts.