The hills around Peck Ranch Conservation Area once again will echo with the bugles of bull elk.
Missouri Conservation Commission Chairman Becky Plattner was struck speechless this morning as she stood in the blue dawn light atop a remote ridge in Carter County. She was listening to sharp snorts and muted barks coming from a stock trailer holding 34 elk. Overwhelmed by emotion after opening the trailer door, she turned to Conservation Commissioner Chip McGeehan and placed her hand over her heart in a gesture of awe.
Hansen said MDC is counting on habitat restoration that has been underway at Peck Ranch for more than 30 years to encourage the elk to stay within the 346-square-mile elk restoration zone. He said MDC's elk-restoration plan includes provisions to deal with elk that find their way onto land where they are not welcome. Long-term plans call for hunting as a tool to manage the size of the elk herd. When hunting commences will depend on how quickly the herd grows, but Hansen said it could begin as soon as 2015.