In the state’s first elk season in a long time, the Missouri Department of Conservation, or MDC, is issuing five permits to hunters for this fall. Almost 20,000 Missourians applied for the tag lottery for 2020.
The tags are good for a single bull elk with at least one antler a minimum of six inches long. The permits are valid for both archery season in late October and firearm season in mid-December.
Due to unrestricted hunting in the 19th century, elk went nearly extinct in Missouri. In more recent years, local conservationists and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, wildlife admirers, hunters, and outdoor enthusiasts have brought the herd back to the state in numbers.
And even though the state is issuing just five tags for 2020, this represents a milestone for Missouri and its people. The state is issuing four general tags and one resident landowner permit.
That landowner is Bill Clark, 78, who has admired elk all his life. A lifelong hunter of deer, turkey and small game, Clark and his family own 80 acres near Missouri’s Peck Ranch Conservation Area where they plant clover and other feed grasses for deer, elk, and other wildlife.
The other lucky lottery winners out of the 19,125 people who applied are Joseph Benthall, Michael Buschjost, Eugene Guilkey and Samuel Schultz.
“I’m really looking forward to being part of this first hunt,” said Buschjost. “A ton of work has been done on the MDC’s part to make this happen.” He added that he was “pretty darn excited” to draw his tag. Buschjost is an experienced elk hunter who’s hunted in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming.
“Growing up in Missouri, I used to hunt rabbit, squirrel, quail, and dove along with deer and turkey,” said Guilkey. “I have never hunted elk. I suppose the cost of a trip like that kept me from pursuing that dream.
Guilkey said he will hunt during both seasons, but his goal for archery season isn’t to take game, but to scout herd territory.
“I also battled cancer last year, and during my battle and recovery, I found an elk-hunting show on television that only hunts public land” he added. “I thought perhaps one day I could do that…and now I can! At this time last year, I was given the news I had cancer. Now, a year later, I’ve been given the opportunity of a lifetime! Thank you for the chance!”
“I love that MDC brought elk back to Missouri and I can’t wait for the opportunity to hunt them,” Schultz said. Schultz has been hunting for about 30 years, mostly deer, turkey and small game he said, in addition to fishing and trapping.
For more information about elk hunting in Missouri visit the MDC website.