Missouri will hold its first elk-hunting season in modern history this fall. Apply May 1 – 31 at mdc.mo.gov/buypermits, or through a permit vendor. (MDC photo)

The Misouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces it will offer Missourians the state’s first elk-hunting season in modern history starting this fall.

In 2011, the MDC reintroduced the first group of elk onto Peck Ranch Conservation Area in south-central Missouri. These elk were captured in Kentucky and transported here after undergoing disease testing and a quarantine period. Additional elk were brought into Missouri in 2012 and 2013. These 108 elk formed the base for our Missouri elk herd in parts of Carter, Shannon, and Reynolds counties.

At MDC’s April 8 meeting, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved the issuance of five permits for hunting bull elk for the 2020 season. Four general permits will be for the public and one permit will be reserved for qualifying area landowners.

The landowner elk permit is limited to resident landowners with at least 20 acres within the “Landowner Elk Hunting Zone” of Carter, Reynolds, and Shannon counties. Zone boundaries are shown in the application. The landowner permit is nontransferable and may only be filled on the landowner’s property.

Missouri’s first pending elk hunt comes after years of restoration efforts of the once-native species by MDC and numerous partners and supporters.

For this first elk season, MDC has designated a nine-day archery portion running October 17 – 25 and a nine-day firearms portion running December 12 – 20. The five permits will be for bull elk and will be valid for both portions. All permits will be assigned through a random-lottery drawing.

MDC will require a $10 application fee for those applying for the general permits. Qualifying landowners will not be required to pay the $10 application fee when applying for the landowner permit. Those selected for each of the five permits must pay a $50 permit fee.

MDC will limit the random lottery to one application per person, per year with a 10-year “sit-out” period for those drawn for a general permit before they may apply again. If selected for a landowner elk permit, qualifying landowners will not be required to wait 10 years before again applying for a landowner elk permit. Qualifying landowners may apply once each year for a general elk hunting permit and for a landowner elk permit but are eligible to receive only one permit annually.

General permits can be used in Carter, Reynolds, and Shannon counties, except the refuge portion of Peck Ranch Conservation Area. Like the landowner permit, general permits are nontransferable.

To apply for an elk permit, applicants must be Missouri residents at least 11 years of age by the first day of the hunt. Those selected to receive a permit must have their hunter-education certification or be exempt by age (born before January 1, 1967) before they may purchase the permit. All applications must be completed online or at a local vendor.

Applicants can check to see if they have been selected for an elk-hunting permit online starting July 1 at mdc.mo.gov/buypermits after logging into “Manage Your Account” and selecting “View My Special Hunt History.”