This image of a bull elk was taken at Peck Ranch Conservation Area in the Missouri Ozarks. MDC is proposing the framework for a limited elk hunting season and is asking for public comments at short.mdc.mo.gov/Z49.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation has shared its initial plan for a limited elk-hunting season with the Missouri Conservation Commission. After receiving initial approval of the plan, the MDC seeks public comments.

Aaron Hildreth, MDC elk and deer biologist, said the department will begin offering a limited season for hunting elk once the herd of about 175 animals reaches a minimum of 200 with an annual herd growth rate of at least 10 percent and herd ratio of at least four cow elk for every bull elk.

The MDC believes the herd likely will reach 200 animals by 2020 and has designated a nine-day archery season for elk running Oct. 17-25, 2020 and a nine-day firearms season for elk running Dec. 12-20, 2020.

The number of permits for a possible 2020 hunt has yet to be determined.

“If the elk population is below desired numbers in early 2020, the conservation commission may choose to not open the online application process or issue any permits for a fall 2020 hunt,” Hildreth explained. “We will then focus on 2021.

According to an MDC news release, several public meetings were held last December in communities around the elk restoration zone in Carter, Reynolds and Shannon counties in southern Missouri. MDC also offered a statewide online comment period.

It is required as part of the rule-making process, that MDC again ask for public comment through Saturday, Aug. 31. Comments may be made at short.mdc.mo.gov/Z49.

The commission will consider input and make a final decision to move forward, modify or withdraw the hunting season framework during its Friday, Oct. 11 meeting.

For more information visit short.mdc.mo.gov/ZYo.

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