Missouri’s first-ever managed elk hunt may happen in 2020. The Missouri Conservation Commission plans to make that decision in the spring. If approved, a drawing will take place for 5-10 permits only open to Missouri residents.
It has been a long though successful path to get to this point. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) well before elk ever hit the ground.
“In 1999, the Conservation Commission directed staff to conduct an elk restoration feasibility study,” Karie Decker, RMEF director of habitat stewardship programs, told the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum. “We provided financial and technical assistance for the feasibility study to assess habitat suitability, plus biological, social and political impacts.”
Despite positive results from the study, restoration plans went on the back burner until 2010 when the commission again placed the issue before Missourians. After approval, RMEF assisted with the successful effort one year later.
“To date, RMEF’s 4,500 Missouri members have helped deliver more than $2 million to the effort, helping fund everything from capturing the source elk in Kentucky to greatly enhancing more than 8,500 acres of new habitat in the core restoration zone,” added Decker. “RMEF financial and technical assistance (and volunteer support) provided radio collars, disease testing, building holding pens in source state and at release site, and feed for elk while being held in pens, among other things.”
Since 1991, RMEF and its partners completed more than 125 conservation and hunting heritage projects in Missouri.
(Photo source: Missouri Department of Conservation)