While no one expects a 400-pointer to be taken in this initial hunt, if the photos at (http://web.me.com/tnwildlife/TNELKHUNT/TN_Elk_Photos.html) are any indication, some good trophies should fall. The hunting area is the North Cumberland WMA in east Tennessee, near Jacksboro, north of Knoxville, in rugged former coal mining country with good access. Each hunter will be assigned an exclusive zone with about 8,000 acres to hunt. The participating agencies want all five hunters to succeed and will be providing as much assistance as possible short of actually guiding them.
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. This was largely thanks to help from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (www.rmef.org). That organization has assisted with numerous successful elk restorations, including Wisconsin; Ontario, Canada; Kentucky; Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (including North Carolina); Arkansas and Michigan. Currently, West Virginia is considering the restoration of elk based on a feasibility study conducted there in 2005. These programs are important, not just for conservation but also........(continued)