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Examiner
  • State elk hunts could begin by 2016 if herd grows

  • Elk hunting could begin in Missouri in 2016 if the herd doubles from its current size of about 100, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

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  • Elk hunting could begin in Missouri in 2016 if the herd doubles from its current size of about 100, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
    The department began reintroducing elk to the state in 2010, trapping about 50 each year in Kentucky and taking them to the Peck Ranch Conservation Area in southeast Missouri. Some died during the relocation and last year's drought, and the herd will now grow only through reproduction.
    Conservation Department officials said Wednesday that if the herd grows to about 200 elk, only a few permits would be issued. But about 30 permits could be issued annually if the herd grew as large as 400 to 500 elk.
    Conservation Department resource scientist Lonnie Hansen told the Columbia Missourian (bit.ly/1dc8Z53) that he would be pleased if the herd had 125 animals by the end of this year.
    "We'd like to see them become part of the natural landscape," Hansen said.
    Conservation officials hope the elk reintroduction will also provide an economic boost to the area as people travel to see the animals.
    Elk were common in Missouri before European settlement but had been eradicated from the state by the end of the Civil War.
     
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