Elk Restoration Programs in Eastern US Increasing Hunt Opportunities


Published: February - 2008

We first reported on elk restoration programs in the Eastern United States in 2001 when Pennsylvania held its very first elk hunt in 70 years, thanks to some help from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. That organization has assisted with numerous successful elk restorations, including Wisconsin in 1995; Ontario, Canada, in 2001; and most recently Kentucky, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (including North Carolina) in 2002. Other successful restoration projects the Foundation has supported include Arkansas and Michigan. Currently, West Virginia is considering the restoration of elk based on a feasibility study conducted there by the Foundation. These programs are important, not just from a conservation point of view but also from the point of view of the increased hunting opportunities they are creating across the United States.

There are now four eastern and mid-western states that offer hunting for wild, free-ranging elk. Although Michigan has restricted its elk hunting program to residents, Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Kentucky all allow nonresidents to participate. The other states mentioned above are still growing their elk herds and are not ready to open a hunting season.

Let's get back to the three states you can hunt as a nonresident. Arkansas' elk herd is estimated at about 450 animals in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) awards about 26 public-land elk hunting permits each year. In 2007, 7,000 people applied for those permits, and two other hunters won permits at Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation events. Most of the permits issued are for bull elk. There are two hunt periods, one in late September and another in early December. Hunts take place on public lands along the Buffalo National River and in the Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area, as well as adjacent private lands. The application period is May 1-31, and the fee is $35. Download an application from the AGFC web site. All you need if you are drawn is a nonresident hunting license. The All Game license costs $300 and allows you to take deer and turkey as well. A five-day license........(continued)

 
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Facilitators: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation; Arkansas Game and Fish Commision; Kentucky Department Of Fish and Wildlife Resources; Pennsylvania Game Commission;

  


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