Elk Return to Missouri Hits a Snag

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On Monday we posted about Missouri finalizing plans to reintroduce elk to the state. Apparently not everyone is excited about the prospects of large ungulates in the Show-Me state.

OzarksFirst.com has a write up about a couple of state representatives that have issues with Elk returning to Missouri.

At a House Interim Committee on Budget Transparency hearing at the State Capitol Monday, State Rep. Casey is , R-Bethany, a former dairy farmer from northwest Missouri, said he is worried about the large grazing animals both for the safety of motorists in the elk restoration area and for farmers who do not want elk on their land. He suggested he may favor legislation that would make the Department of Conservation liable for any damage the animals would do.

"I am from a part of the country [suburban St. Louis] where deer is our biggest community discussion," said Rep. Sue Allen, R-Town and Country. "The only predator of the deer where I come from is the automobile. Call me silly...but why do we want to bring elk in and have potential problems like Representative Guernsey is talking about?"

Its interesting that Rep Guernsey is suggesting that the state pay all damages related to reintroduced elk. It's simply the same argument made by Montana Senator Joe Balyeat in regards to wolves in Montana.


jim boyd's picture

While I would be a genuine

While I would be a genuine proponent of bringing the elk in - one must consider the automobile / elk collision.

If you have ever seen a car that hit a cow, you can see the immediate impact of a collision in which a 700 pound animal is struck.... the potential for loss of life is certainly greater than that of car vs deer.

The potential for loss of life is certainly greater in a car vs elk situation....

The revunue, however, could be astounding!

The farmers could have a resource in the DNR officers - perhaps show elk damage to crops and receive some type of support or restitution from the state?

I am not a fan of more government of additional bureacracy (sp?) but to me, it would seem there should be a way to satisfy all parties and get the elk into the state.... a compromise on all parties and results in common good for everyone?certainly be substantial once the herd got established - east coasters would flock there.

Heck, I might be one of them...




GooseHunter Jr's picture

I would think that the

I would think that the revenue that eklk hunitng would bring it would definetly be a good thing for the show me state.  I know that Missouri has some great country that would grow some huge elk,  Would definetly like to see this happen.  An out of state tag would tag a few years to get but I would logve to go there or even kentucky to hunt elk.

gatorfan's picture

Obviously, the farmers that

Obviously, the farmers that are worried about the damage to their fields and crops that could occur from the elk haven't seen the amount of money people pay to hunt elk.  I would imagie that once they see the potential income form letting elk hunters on their land, they'll change their minds pretty quickly!

The elk versus auto argument is a bunch of elk pellets!

hawkeye270's picture

I am with you Vermonster... I

I am with you Vermonster... I am not buying the road kill argument by a long shot. If that argument has any worth it is just the fear that those people might have of hitting an animal that is so much larger than the white tailed deer that they are used to plastering with their bumpers. But that is just a fear based argument that doesn't really mean anything. There would be so few elk compared to white tailed deer in that state that your chances of hitting an elk compared to a deer would be insanely low. There are probably over a million white tailed deer in Missouri. That is why so many get hit on the roads and cause so much monetary damage. If you have that many animals running around than they are bound to get hit. I do not see that happening with elk though. The fabitat for one is not going to support a population size anywhere near that. We are talking about a couple hundred elk here people. The car vs. wildlife argument doesn't hold any water. Now farmers definitely do have a solid claim there. They need to work out a good system of taking care of damage claims from farmers.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Seriously???? Unbelievable

Seriously???? Unbelievable that they would take this stand.  I can maybe take the farmers concerns to heart, but the danger tot he motosists?  I would like to see the stats from the other eastern states that have elk reintroduction programs to see how many, if any, collisions there have been between elk and cars.  The problem i see is that the main people complaining are from suburban areas, like the one from St. Louis, and would tend to have no clue about the remote area that they are going to place them in.  It even says that they picked those areas because of the hilly terrain and lack of unpaved roads.

CVC's picture

I googled it and foun that

I googled it and foun that Kentucky had 22 elk-car collisions last year.

The elk-farmer issue is similar to the wolf-rancher issue.  Can't blame them for not wanting a "predator" introduced that is going to destroy and consume their crops.