In the future, West Virginia hunters looking to bag an elk may not have to travel west, if a plan to reintroduce huntable populations to the state comes to fruition.
From this story in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph:
Once native to West Virginia but becoming extinct in the Mountain State in the late 1800s, elk have been drifting across the border from Kentucky the past few years, where an initial contingent of seven were put on the ground in 1997. Within a few years, some 1,500 transplanted elk were brought into Kentucky from seven western states and the herd has grown considerably. Just how many elk roam the hills of West Virginia isn’t known, but the Division of Natural Resources is currently trying to get a handle on that number with motion-sensitive cameras.
_The so-called “elk zone” consists of Wayne, Lincoln, Boone, Mingo, Logan, Wyoming and McDowell counties. Already, one legislator is preparing a bill for introduction next winter to legalize elk hunting in the state, and Delegate Kelli Sobonya, R-Cabell, sees this as a bonanza for the tourism industry. “I plan on moving forward with it,” she said.
Just like mountain lions, it seems that elk are slowly returning to their historical range, albeit in limited numbers and areas. There are already a number of states east of the Rockies that offer limited-draw elk hunts. Is yours one of them? Anyone ever draw out on an eastern elk hunt?