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I drove down to Little rock recently and was amazed to see ELK CROSSING" signs on the roads . Did Arkansas bring them in or are the elk spreading out from Kentucky and Tennessee ?
 

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VECtor Custom Calls
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Looks like they've been there for a little while.

Here's what the Arkansas Game and Fish website says:

The USDA Forest Service introduced Rocky Mountain elk (Cersus elaphus nelsoni) in Franklin County's Black Mountain Refuge in 1933. Three bulls and eight cows from Wichita National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma were released. This herd increased to an estimated 200 by the mid 1950s and then vanished. No one knows for sure what caused the elk to disappear. Some speculate illegal hunting, natural mortality and shrinking habitat through forest growth eventually caused their demise.

In 1981, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, in cooperation with private citizens, initiated another elk restoration project in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas. Between 1981 and 1985, 112 elk from Colorado and Nebraska were released in Newton County. All release sites were near the Buffalo National River. Some elk were ear-tagged and tested for diseases prior to release.

The AGFC monitors the elk herd with the cooperation of the National Park Service. Through field observations, records on public comments and non-hunting mortalities and harvest data, the herd is estimated at about 450 animals. Arkansas' elk range covers approximately 315,000 acres with 85,000 (27 percent) in public ownership. Public land within the elk range include National Park Service land, a small portion of National Forest land, and the AGFC’s Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area, bordering National Park Service property along the Buffalo River.

Biologists have used annual helicopter counts in late winter along the Buffalo River corridor and in some private land areas since 1991. Bull/cow ratios compare favorably with data on established elk herds in some western states.

A thermal infrared sensing project initiated in 1994 provided more precise information on elk numbers and distribution. In February and March 1994, 312 elk were counted in areas normally surveyed by helicopter.

Without suitable habitat, elk would soon disappear from Arkansas. Realizing this, state, federal and private interests have worked together to expand and improve elk habitat along the Buffalo River. Since 1992, the AGFC, cooperating with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, has done extensive habitat improvement work on the 18,220-acre Gene Rush WMA. Year-round elk use of the WMA has increased significantly, and more habitat work is planned.

The National Park Service also wants to ensure the future of the elk herd. Their efforts to create and maintain beneficial elk habitat along the 95,730-acre Buffalo National River includes conducting prescribed burns, planting wildlife friendly grasses and legumes, reclaiming old fields, maintaining hay fields and establishing native grass openings.

Elk continue to slowly expand their range toward the mouth of the Buffalo River; however suitable habitat and the potential for developing more elk habitat on the lower portion of the river is limited. Elk have expanded their range onto private lands in Boone and Carroll County and damage problems have developed.

A hunting program established in 1998 has reduced elk damage complaints on private land. The AGFC and Forest Service are developing plans to improve elk habitat on National Forest land south of the current elk range.

The modern day Arkansas elk hunt was established in 1998. Hunters are selected by a random draw for a limited number of public land elk permits. There also are private land permits based on a quota system. Hunters applying for private land permits must have written landowner permission to qualify for an either-sex elk permit.
 

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Honey Badger Phat Sack
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Interesting read, wonder what the MO Elk herd looks like. Isn't there or wasn't there a very limited Elk draw down in SW MO?
 

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Missouri doesn't have an exsisting herd. There are private owners of high fence herds but it is illegal to transport elk across Mo state lines. The MDC has considered establishing a herd in the Mark Twain NF but after several attempts the end result is that they do not want to have a disease outbreak to our deer herds and livestock...
 

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I think the end result was the Missouri Farm Association threw an absolute fit and partnered with the Insurance Companies to fight like heck against the reintroduction of elk in Missouri. The MFA was worried about disease, crop, and fence damages, the insurance companies about elk/vehicle accident claims. Personally, I thought it would have been cool to have a resident elk herd. Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and maybe a few of the states along the Appalachia Mountains all have resident herds and some even have limited draw hunts. Why not us too?
 

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just a no body
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Originally posted by MOGC
I think the end result was the Missouri Farm Association threw an absolute fit and partnered with the Insurance Companies to fight like heck against the reintroduction of elk in Missouri. The MFA was worried about disease, crop, and fence damages, the insurance companies about elk/vehicle accident claims. Personally, I thought it would have been cool to have a resident elk herd. Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and maybe a few of the states along the Appalachia Mountains all have resident herds and some even have limited draw hunts. Why not us too?
Ky has opened a very limited Elk season as has Ark...I sure would like to hear a big bull elk bugle some morning here in MO

I think MOGC has hit the nail on the head
 

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Originally posted by MOGC
I think the end result was the Missouri Farm Association threw an absolute fit and partnered with the Insurance Companies to fight like heck against the reintroduction of elk in Missouri. The MFA was worried about disease, crop, and fence damages, the insurance companies about elk/vehicle accident claims. Personally, I thought it would have been cool to have a resident elk herd. Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and maybe a few of the states along the Appalachia Mountains all have resident herds and some even have limited draw hunts. Why not us too?
I'm all for elk in Missouri as long as they stay south of I-70.
 

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Last summer my family went to Ark to see some elk and from what we were told they are slowly moving north. I think they have been seen as far north as Harrison.
 

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Kentucky has about 7500 elk, mostly in the mountains, and a few at LBL, though you can't hunt them at LBL. There is the "elk zone" of nine counties, and another boundary zone, where you can also hunt stragglers out of the "elk zone". We DO have a few elk/vehicle interfaces, but not enough to make the news, at least here in Louisville.

An elk tag, for residents, costs a $10 application fee, and $30 if you get drawn, it's a once-in-a-lifetime event. Nonresidents can apply, they get 10% of the tags, IIRC, and it costs them $300, plus nonres licenses and so forth. It's certainly a bargain, and the habitat is excellent for growing BIG elk, several have been taken over 300" and some near 350". The current record book elk for KY was taken with a 7mm/08, for all you mangle-um shooters................:claphands:
 

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Actually it was Missouri Farm Bureau, not MFA. They were concerned about Missouri's Brucellosis free status, and what effect elk would have on that status as well as the possibilty of elk/car collisions and the possiblity of increase fatalities and insurance rates.
 

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Arkansas has had a limited draw hunt for 10 years or so. They also raffle off a tag or two every year. The festival is held in Jasper, I believe. Usually some high roller with the Rocky Mountain Elk foundation buys the tag. Success rate was quite high from what I remember.
 
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