Wed. Mar 29th, 2023
The five lucky hunters for the first ever Missouri Elk Hunting season have been selected.
MDC officials say the hunt will take place in a 20-acre area known as the “Elk Restoration Zone” in Southern Missouri.
Archery events will be a nine-day event in October, with Firearms in December.
The last time Elk where hunted in Missouri was in the 1800s when Lewis and Clark first arrived in the state.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering Missourians the state’s first elk-hunting season in modern history starting this October. For the inaugural season, MDC will issue one permit each to five lucky Missourians randomly drawn from 19,215 permit applications, including 33 for one resident-landowner antlered-elk permit and 19,182 for four general permits.
The five lucky applicants drawn for a permit to harvest one antlered elk in Missouri this fall are:
Each of the five can purchase their elk-hunting permit starting July 1 for a cost of $50. The five hunters can then each harvest one bull elk that has at least one antler being a minimum of six inches long. The five hunters may hunt using archery methods Oct. 17-25 and firearms methods Dec. 12-20. Each permit is valid for both the archery and firearms portions of the elk-hunting season.
The resident landowner permit will be used by Clark on his 80 acres east of Peck Ranch Conservation Area. The four general permits may be used within Carter, Reynolds, or Shannon counties excluding the refuge portion of Peck Ranch.
Learn more about elk hunting in Missouri online at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/elk.
Elk are a native species in Missouri but were hunted to extinction in the state through unregulated hunting during the late 1800s. Missouri’s first pending elk hunt this fall comes after years of restoration efforts of the native species by MDC, numerous partners including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and many supporters including local communities and area landowners. Learn more about elk restoration in Missouri at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZYJ.
Bill Clark of Van Buren, 78, is a life-long hunter of deer, turkey, and small game. He has also pursued elk in Colorado and Wyoming in the 1990s. He and his family own 80 acres east of Peck Ranch Conservation Area where they conduct timber-stand improvements on the heavily forested property and also plant clover and native grasses for elk and other wildlife.
Clark says he applied for the elk hunt because he supports MDC’s elk restoration and management efforts, wildlife management in general, and wants to help the herd by thinning a bull. He adds that he frequently sees elk on his property and has noticed an increase in local tourism since elk first arrived in the area in 2011, including an uptick in elk driving tours at Peck Ranch.
Joseph Benthall of Mount Vernon, 37, has been deer hunting off and on for 25 years and has not hunted elk before. He says he applied for the Missouri opportunity because he has wanted to hunt elk but has not had the time or money for a trip out west. He adds that he will only be rifle hunting.
Michael Buschjost of St. Thomas, 39, says he is, “Pretty darn excited to draw this tag!” His passion is bowhunting and he has hunted elk in Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming with two bulls and a cow elk harvested from those efforts.
He says he is excited to take his three kids with him to scout the area before the season opens. “I’m really looking forward to being part of this first hunt,” says Buschjost. “A ton of work has been done on MDC’s part to make this happen.”
Samuel Schultz of Winfield, 42, has been hunting for 30 years and he mostly hunts deer and turkey. He has hunted small game in the past, done some trapping, and loves to fish as well. He has hunted elk before in Colorado back in the early 2000s and says he was fortunate enough to harvest a 6×6 bull with his bow on a self-guided hunt.
“I love that MDC brought elk back to Missouri and I can’t wait for the opportunity to hunt them,” Schultz says.
Eugene Guilkey of Liberty, 59, has lived most of his life in northwest Missouri and has hunted since his youth. Guilkey says he plans to hunt both portions and will use a crossbow during the archery portion. He adds that he will mainly use the archery portion to scout for the rifle portion.
“Growing up in Missouri, I used to hunt rabbit, squirrel, quail, and dove, along with deer and turkey. I have never hunted elk,” Guilkey says. “I suppose the cost of a trip like that kept me from pursuing that dream. I also battled cancer last year, and during my battle and recovery, I found an elk-hunting show on television that only hunts public land. I thought perhaps one day I could do that… and now I can! At this time last year, I was given the news I had cancer. Now, a year later, I’ve been given the opportunity of a lifetime! Thank you for the chance!”
Guilkey adds that he never wins any drawings. “When MDC contacted me via email, I was at work,” he recalls. “I literally jumped out of my chair screaming I had won! My coworkers thought I had lost my marbles! My family and I were almost in shock and disbelief! Since that day, I’ve thought of almost nothing else in my spare time… lodging, scouting, learning to call elk, gear… I’m like a kid at Christmas!”