The Outdoor Journal by Kyle Carroll
In the late 1800s, a Nodaway County hunter sighted down his rifle barrel on a large brown animal. He skillfully pressed the trigger and the rifle bucked. A few minutes later he stood over his kill. It was an elk, or Wapiti and it would provide a lot of meat for his family, and bragging rights in town. It would be the last wild elk legally taken by a hunter in Missouri in now more than 150 years. A few have been mistakenly killed by deer hunters over the years. (Don't try saying you didn't know it was an elk in Colorado or Wyoming.) A hand full have wandered in and been hit by automobiles, and a few have been killed by outlaws in southern Missouri after the animals were re-introduced a decade ago, but there has never been a wild population and an open season in modern times. That will all change this October when Missouri will have its first ever Elk Season.
Hunters will be required to enter a drawing and the odds of being selected for a tag will be long. One landowner tag will be reserved for landowners meeting the criteria and four regular elk tags for a total of five permits will be the extent of the opportunity for now.
At its April 8 meeting, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved the issuance of five permits for hunting bull elk for the 2020 season. For this first elk season, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has designated a nine-day archery portion running Oct. 17-25, and a nine-day firearms portion running Dec. 12-20. The five permits will be for bull elk and will be valid for both portions. All permits will be assigned through a random, lottery drawing.
“The timing of the season was designed to come after the peak of elk breeding during late September and early October and to avoid the elk season coinciding with portions of the firearms deer season,” explained MDC Elk and Deer Biologist Aaron Hildreth.
MDC will require a $10 application fee for those applying for the general permits. Qualifying landowners will not be required to pay the $10 application fee when applying for the landowner permit. Those selected for each of the five permits must pay a $50 permit fee.
So this fall, when the wild throaty bugle of the bull elk echoes across a foggy Ozark valley, somewhere a hunter with a bow in his hand will get the thrill of a lifetime. I think I'll put my ten dollars in the hat.