JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri residents could be eligible to apply for a limited elk hunting season as early as 2020, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website.
The current elk population in Missouri is estimated at 175, according to the MDC. Once the population grows to 200, officials plan to open applications for elk hunting to the public.
The MDC says a limited number of permits would be given out based on a randomized lottery system of all applicants. Currently, the department anticipates it will be $10 to apply. Winners would pay an additional $50 permit fee.
There are other stipulations to the elk population in Missouri. The MDC is requiring the population to be growing by 10 percent each year with a ratio of four females to every male.
“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,” MDC elk and deer biologist Aaron Hildreth said.
If the targets are met, the MDC 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 season could be in tandem with an anticipated 2020 black bear hunting season. The MDC has stated that the black bear population has been growing and expanding into central Missouri and areas south of St. Louis.
Anticipation for elk hunting has been building as early as 2018, when members of the public asked the MDC to make permits open to all Missouri residents. The proposed hunting season would include landowners.
Find out more on the MDC’s website.