MDC Considering Creating An Additional Antlerless Elk Season

The Missouri Department of Conservation says the growth of elk numbers has the department considering the creation of a limited number antlerless elk season in addition to the antlered elk season.

MDC Elk and Deer Biologist Aaron Hildreth says the population goal for Missouri is to get to about 500 animals and use hunting to manage the herd size for Carter, Reynolds, and Shannon Counties in southern Missouri. The current herd is estimated to be around 320 animals before calving begins this year.

The Missouri Department of Conservation would like to keep the elk-hunting regulations as simple as possible and mirror the regulations for the antlered-elk hunting. The department says such regulations would include hunting limited to Missouri residents who are at least 11 years old by the first day of the hunt, charging an application fee for be part of a random drawing, and charging 50 dollars for each permit.

MDC has not determined the number of permits that will be issued or confirmed a year to begin offering them. The recommended number of permits will be determined though annual staff surveys of elk numbers to monitor population growth. MDC currently designates five hunting permits for antlered elk.

The department would like to get input on future antlerless-elk hunting opportunities. Public comments will be taken through April 28th through the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website.

Individuals who have applied for antlered-elk permits in past years will be emailed a survey for their comments on antlerless-elk hunting and do not need to provide comments through the webpage.

After receiving comments, the department will propose a framework to present to the Missouri Conservation Commission for their September meeting. If the framework would be approved, the department would make recommendations to the commission early next year for elk permit numbers for a 2025 fall season.