Missouri Bills Would Make Elk MDC Property

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Elk will most likely be reintroduced to Missouri this year based on a plan passed by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). However not everybody is happy about the return of elk to the Show Me State. Local lawmakers, upset about potential vehicle and livestock damage caused by the elk are introducing state bills that would make the elk MDC property and therefore liable for any damage caused.

The Kansas City Star has an article running on this unusual move that may indirectly block the reintroduction.

"Although we cannot as a Legislature do anything to stop this dangerous act by the commission, we can pass legislation that will begin to make restitution to Missourians to pay them for damages caused by their decision," said Schad, R-Versailles. His bill was approved by a House committee this past week. Conservation officials said that in North America, wildlife is not considered to be owned by anyone and can be enjoyed by all. They said the legislation would establish a dangerous precedent for the ownership of other wild animals such as deer, turkey and squirrels.


hunter25's picture

This is the first I have read

This is the first I have read of people not wanting to introduce elk back into a state. Especially with all the great success stories from so many other eastern states now. I would bet that the auto insurance companies are the big push so as to get their money back from any collision claims.

Here in Colorado elk getting hit by cars is a huge problem in some areas. Along hwy82 where I live they have just installed elk proof fencing for many miles on both sides of the road due to the extreme number of elk hit by cars there and even several human fatalities over the years. I don't know how much this cost but I'm sure the bill was huge.

I'm sure if this passed though that there could be some bad future ramifications for sportsmen.

I read the one comment about

I read the one comment about Europe . I have both aunts and uncles that live in France and my one aunt and her husband were in the veterinary business and they had their own farm. They had home in town and their farm was about 3/4's of a mile outside of town where kept horses to get them better and exercise at the same time when he had to keep them for a while. He (myuncle) couldget a hunting license like you do here for hunting for big game and small game both. He said if I got the money to do it to call and make arrangements to go.

hawkeye270's picture

There is a big difference

There is a big difference between ownership of wildlife in the U.S.A and in other parts of the world, namely Europe. Here, wildlife is managed by the states and held in trust for their citizens. This does not imply ownership. Simply, in the U.S., the citizens of the states own the wildlife within their borders. The G&F agencies can impose harvest regulations, bans etc. because the wildlife are "held in trust" for their citizens.

You state that you think that wildlife should be owned by the private landowners that indirectly or directly feed, water and shelter the wildlife. In a way, this sounds like a good and just plan. The problem is that we then essentially become Europe, where only the wealthy elite, who can afford to own land (i.e. large estates) can hunt wildlife. It is the fact that "We the people" own the wildlife in this country that makes this country's version of wildlife management so great.

Be carefull what you wish for. The government, either state or federal should never be allowed to OWN wildlife. And in my oppinion, private landowners should not be able to either (except "game farm" where this is the case). Otherwise we become Europe, where the average joe, the would be DIY hunter is shut out.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Huh.  Just because they are

Huh.  Just because they are worried about the damage they'll cause?

Seems like a little bit of over reacting to me, but then again, I don't make my living by farming, so they probably know better than I do.

I still think they could find some common ground on this.

jaybe's picture

  This is a really

  This is a really interesting argument. I have always understood that the state does "own" the animals that reside therin. If not, then how is it that they can establish seasons and bag limits on them? Maybe that's a fine point in some minds, but to me, it's an "either-or" situation.

 I have long felt that if a person owns property that wildlife reside on, he is feeding and watering that wildlife. IMO he should then have the right to walk out back and kill one for his family's table whenever he deems necessary. I don't know of anywhere where that is the case, however. While the State Conservation Departments always treat them as "belonging to everyone", they quickly add, "but we will tell you when you can hunt them and how many you can take." To me, that is a de-facto admission of owning them.

  I guess I can understand that some people (insurance companies, farmers concerned about diseases, etc.) would prefer to have the state officially "own" them so they could be held responsible for any damage they might do, but if this law did pass, it would really open up a whole new situation that has never existed before.