Missouri Announces First Elk Hunting Season in Over 100 Years!
Elk hunting has returned to the State of Missouri for the first time since the 1800s! On April 8, 2020, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved the issuance of five permits to hunt bull elk for the 2020 season. The new hunting opportunity is the culmination of Missouri’s successful elk restoration project.
Elk are a native species to Missouri but were extirpated from the area in the 1800’s due to unregulated market hunting. Working with various conservation partners and private landowners, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) first reintroduced 100 elk to the remote Missouri Ozarks between 2011 and 2013. Today the herd numbers more than 200, has a 10 percent growth rate and a bull:cow ratio of 1:4, achieving all of the targeted conservation goals originally set by the MDC.
This first hunt is open only to Missouri residents, who will have to enter a random drawing for four bull elk permits. A drawing for a fifth permit is open only to landowners with properties in the Landowner Elk Hunting Zone. The application fee is $10, and the permit fee is $50. Hunters who succeed in drawing a permit must wait 10 years before being able to apply again.
The permits will be valid for both the nine-day archery season running October 17-25 and the nine-day firearm season running December 12-20. Permit holders will be able to pursue elk across Carter, Reynolds and Shannon counties, except for the refuge portion of Peck Ranch Conservation Area. The permit allows for one bull elk with at least one antler longer than six inches.
Applications become available May 1 and are due May 31, with results available by July 1. Online applications may be submitted at mdc.mo.gov/buypermits. Or they may be submitted at any permit vendor.
For more information on elk hunting in Missouri, visit huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/elk.