Gilbert, WV -(Ammoland.com)- A meeting to help determine public interest in the restoration of elk to West Virginia has been scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, 7 p.m., at the Larry Joe Harless Community Center in Gilbert, Mingo County.
The meeting is being conducted by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR), and the public is encouraged to attend and participate. DNR has been working on a proposed elk restoration plan for the past few years and the taking of public comment is the next stage of the plan.
Written comments may be mailed to: West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Section, 324 4th Avenue, South Charleston WV, 25303 or by email [email protected] Written comments must be submitted by Dec. 29, 2014.
The draft West Virginia Elk Management Plan can be found online at http://wvdnr.gov/Publications/Draft_Elk_Plan.pdf.
About the West Virginia Elk Management Plan:
- Eastern Elk (Cervus elaphus canadensis) were once common inhabitants of the eastern United States prior to European settlement. Elk roamed throughout what is now West Virginia, especially in the high mountain regions of the state. Historical records indicate elk were extirpated from West Virginia around 1875, and until recently, free-roaming elk have not been present in West Virginia. For the past several decades, elk have received protected status in the state. The West Virginia Code (§ 20-1-2) defines elk as a “big game” animal; however, there is currently no hunting season in West Virginia for this species.
- In an effort to evaluate the feasibility of restoring elk back to the state, the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (now known as the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources) developed its first elk reintroduction feasibility study in 1972. More recently, DNR, in cooperation with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, conducted research in 2005 relating to the biological assessment of potential habitat and the social feasibility of restoring elk to the landscape in West Virginia.
- The successful reintroduction of elk in Kentucky and Virginia has sparked renewed interest in active elk restoration in West Virginia.
About the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR)
It is the statutory mission of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) to provide and administer a long-range comprehensive program for the exploration, conservation, development, protection, enjoyment and use of the natural resources of the State of West Virginia.