Elk War! Farm Bureau Angered Over Plan to Reintroduce Elk to Missouri

Sep 7, 2010 at 9:47 am
click to enlarge Opposition, uh, "mounts" over plan to reintroduce elk to Missouri.
Opposition, uh, "mounts" over plan to reintroduce elk to Missouri.
They've been gone from Missouri for nearly 150 years, and the Missouri Farm Bureau would like to keep it that way.

At issue is a herd of elk that that the Missouri Department of Conservation wants to release in a 365-square mile zone in the Ozarks. According to the MDC, the elk would boost tourism in the area and the economy -- with the elk herd eventually maintained through hunting.

The area in rural Shannon, Reynolds and Carter counties was chosen because 60 percent of it lies on public land with few roadways and just 0.1 percent of the elk restoration zone is currently used for farming.

Still, that doesn't appease the state's Farm Bureau, which last month fired off a letter to Governor Jay Nixon asking him to halt the release of elk into Missouri.

"Last month the (MDC) commission made an incomprehensible decision to reverse direction and resumed plans to reintroduce elk in Missouri," farm bureau president Charles Kruse wrote in the letter. "Elk obstruct roads, trample fences, and decimate crops and forage. Disease transmission between elk and livestock is a major concern. Landowners suffer the brunt of the unintended consequences of elk restoration. If imposing these risks associated with elk is deemed acceptable today, then will 'native' wildlife species that pose greater risks be next?"

The conservation department plans to make a decision on the elk project at its October 14 meeting. Until then it's asking Missourians to comment yea or nay on the proposal.