Some Elk Info

spectr17

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Since Missouri was considering the re-introduction of elk, we can only look to other neighboring states to see how their elk programs are working. Many of those opposed to the elk re-introduction in Missouri point to the crop damage the elk would do. This info from WD in Kentucky's elk program should shed some light on that point.

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From WD in Kentucky,

The 14 counties comprising KY's elk restoration zone are 93% forest, 6% reclaimed mine lands, and 1% agriculture. The agriculture is pasture, tobacco plots and gardens.

The elk are causing almost no property damage. They've pulled up some plastic flowers in a graveyard, rolled up a tobacco bed tarp, and gotten into a few gardens. No landowner has been compensated for damage. Only one has asked for money.

The RMEF paid for fences around the one graveyard and an experimental tree planting owned by the University of Kentucky. The KDFWR loans portable electric fences and chargers to garden owners if cracker shells don't work. The problem usually goes away "literally".

Also, KY's elk are tested for 6 diseases ($53/animal) before shipping to KY. Because there is no test for Chronic Wasting Disease, KY receives only wild elk from locations far away from current CWD outbreaks in Fort Collins, CO and across the line in Wyoming.

KY's elk are doing terrific. The herd has grown from the first 7 animals in Dec. 1997 to more than 1,450 today. Almost 80% of the elk stray less than 12 miles from their release site. About 5% actually leave the restoration zone (2.6 million acres in those 14 counties) and about 50% of these return on their own by November of each year. A half-dozen or so elk have strayed from KY to Virginia and Tennessee.

Tennessee and North Carolina aren't having much crop problem with elk either.

Pennsylvania has had restored elk from several decades. They experience about $2,000 in crop damage per year. Even in Wyoming where more than 100,000 elk exist, less than $80,000 in crop damage results from elk. Arkansas has a good record in this department also.

The key is keeping elk out of corn and bean country where they would surely cause problems. How do you do that? Choose your inital restoration site carefully. It should be at least 500,000 acres with less than 5% cropland. Then be willing to take harsh measures against any elk that venture more than a county from the restoration zone. For instance, deer hunters could be allowed to take elk during deer season if the elk have strayed too far from where the state wants them.
 



Duke

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It seems then since KY's elk are doing so good why don't they try it somewhere around here.  They should try the same as KY and get the elk from a farther spot from the CWD.  I Would love to have elk back in Missouri.
 

robNhood

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I think the big factor that is keeping them out is the damage that they would cause to the crops.

The farmers were not too happy with the idea.
 

spectr17

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robnhood,

I posted the above info to help show those who beleive there will be crop damage that it is not the case.

To summarize the above, the elk are to be introduced into areas without crops, far from them in fact. If the elk get into private gardens, land etc. where they are not wanted, the RMEF will donate the electric fences to keep them out until they move on.

Crop damage from elk is a NON ISSUE. Why the farmers keep screaming the elk will ruin their crops is a mystery after you read about the crop damage, or lack of crop damage, in other neighboring states.

The elk re-introduction into Missouri was rejected because of the concerns and unanswered questions over CWD. This MDC link provides all the info on CWD and why MDC rejected the elk. http://www.conservation.state.mo.us/nathis/mammals/elk/
 


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