When I think of elk, I think of the Rocky Mountains and for good reason. However, there is an elk population that is thriving in Missouri as their numbers are on the rise.

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Did you know that Lewis and Clark reported that they saw elk in Missouri back in 1804? Eventually the number of elk in Missouri would dwindle, but that changed about 10 years ago when the Missouri Department of Conservation reintroduced elk into Missouri with a herd of only around 108. That number is now double that with a reported 50 new elk calves being born into the herd just this past year.

What's the big deal about Missouri elk?

The state of Missouri says that a healthy elk population is good for the overall ecosystem not just for what they describe as "unique wildlife viewing opportunities", but for other animals as well.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has a stated goal of 400 to 500 elk in the wild sometime in the future. They're making big time progress toward that goal...so much that there will be permits issued this year for elk hunting season again this year. There will once again be a bow hunting season for bull elk in Missouri in October and a firearms season in December according to the state website.

Where can I see elk in Missouri now?

The Peck Ranch Conservation Area in southeastern Missouri in the Ozarks is where elk can be viewed. It's a huge and rugged area where these animals thrive.

It's appropriate that the elk that were seen in the wild of Missouri when Lewis and Clark began their exploration have now returned to their rightful place among nature's grandest creatures.

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