Missouri Elk Season Could Start as Soon as 2020

Jul 16, 2018

The population of Missouri’s wild elk herd is growing fast enough that the Department of Conservation is making tentative plans for a hunting season in 2020.

At the Missouri Conservation Commission’s meeting Friday, cervid biologist Aaron Hildreth provided an update on Missouri’s elk population, including information about the potential for an elk hunting season in fall 2020.

Missouri Dept. of Conversation

The Missouri Department of Conservation is investigating a dead bull elk that was found mutilated in southeastern Missouri.

The agency said Wednesday in a statement that the male was one of about 130 animals that are a part of the department's efforts to restore the elk population.

The Conservation Department says the elk appears to have been shot and its skull plate and antlers removed with a chainsaw.

A hiker who saw the animal in an area along the Current River notified conservation agents Tuesday.

David Stonner / Missouri Department of Conservation

In 2011, the Department of Conservation started reintroducing elk into the state of Missouri.  The elk were brought in from Kentucky and released onto land designated as the Elk Relocation Zone.  Part of this “zone” is conservation land in the Missouri Ozarks called Peck Ranch. 

Right now, there’s a herd of more than a hundred elk roaming around in the Missouri Ozarks.  But, you might not know it just by looking around.  You see, they’re actually kind of hard to find in the woods.

David Stonner / Missouri Department of Conservation

A report released on Friday by the Missouri auditor's office says the state continued to overspend on its elk restoration project, even after a 2011 audit found it was way over budget.

The current audit found the Missouri Department of Conservation spent close to $3.4 million to bring 129 elk into the state. Only an estimated 115 elk have survived.

But conservation department Deputy Director Tom Ripperger says those figures are misleading.

Sarah Ashworth.


The Missouri Department of Conservation is planning to allow Elk hunting starting in 2016.

The Columbia Missourian reports the plan is contingent on the Elk population growing to at least 200. The conservation department has been working on growing the Elk population since 2010. The Department been bringing elk into Missouri from Kentucky in an effort to reintroduce the population into the state.

Drought affects Mo. elk herd

Aug 3, 2012
Missouri Department of Conservation

Drought and stressful moving conditions are killing off some reintroduced elk in the Missouri Ozarks.

Missouri Department of Conservation

Missouri’s elk population appears to be settling into their new home state, according to state conservation officials.

Dr. Joseph Millspaugh updated the Missouri Conservation Commission Friday on the state’s elk herd, which he said seems to be doing well.

“Evidence of survival rates [and] reproductive rates that are average to high, we see diet quality certainly within the range of what we would expect…the stress response:  nothing there that is indicative of a problem,” said Millspaugh.