Pursuing Prize Missouri Elk: Another Level of Sportsmanship
Elk haven’t roamed Missouri since the Civil War era, when they disappeared as a result of overhunting. The Missouri Wildlife Department has returned deer, wild turkey and otters to the state, but never any creature the size of an elk. A bull elk stands 6 feet tall, and that’s not counting his branch-like antlers, which can extend another 6 feet. From snout to tail, an elk can exceed a chopper motorcycle in length and weigh as much as 800 pounds. Trapping and relocating elk aren’t easy tasks. Over the past six months, the department has built complicated traps and holding pens, and it has battled frigid Missouri weather, stubborn snowstorms, fog and nearly endless boredom. The elk endured rigorous testing for disease before they were loaded into trailers and transported 500 miles across the winding roads of Kentucky and into Missouri, all the way to their new home in south-central Missouri’s Peck Ranch Conservation Area.
The Missouri Wildlife Department’s elk trapping is part of a three-year plan to bring about 150 elk to Missouri. Project coordinator Ron Dent said it’s the biggest challenge in his 36 years with the department. If you’ve never tried elk hunting, you are missing out on one of life’s greatest adventures. Missouri elk hunting is particularly enjoyable, especially if you choose to visit the central part of the state. With its picturesque setting and well-stocked game, you will be able to experience Missouri trophy elk hunting along with experienced guides and all the comforts of a modern lodge.
Elk is among the largest game you can hunt in North America. Ranging in color from brown to light tan they have light-colored hind-quarters, which is why the Elk was traditionally called by the Indian name “Wapiti” or “white backside.” Their most identifiable features are the male Elk’s magnificent antlers, which can grow to 1 ½ meters. This is also why elk are among the most popular Missouri trophy hunts. Few things are as impressive as a set of elk antlers as a trophy.
Elk hunting can be done with either firearms or archery. These are very different hunting experiences, so if you’re in Missouri, try elk hunting more than once a season, and try both methods. When you stay at Stone Creek Hunting Ranch, for instance, you will have access to plenty of well-stocked, mature animals. You can practice your hunting skills in some of the prettiest country in the U.S. The Missouri Ozarks are spectacularly beautiful, offering scenery that can’t be found anywhere else.
Typical three-day hunts are booked from September through February, with only one party at a time for most outfitters. October is heralded by brilliant fall foliage, with plenty of cover for the bow hunter and close stalks. Late fall in Missouri has frosty mornings and variable afternoon temperatures. Winter days may have snow, which can really add to the peaceful atmosphere of pursuing elk in Missouri.