When Europeans first came to North America, as many as 10 million elk roamed the U.S. Their numbers proved a plentiful resource that explorers, trappers, and settlers depended on for survival. But left unmanaged, unregulated hunting and loss of habitat eventually became too great, and elk herds east of the Mississippi disappeared by the late 1800s.

Since then, efforts by hunter-conservationists and state wildlife agencies have restored elk populations across the nation. RMEF is working to make elk restoration programs a priority in the eastern U.S., ensuring a future where residents and visitors will have the opportunity to wake up to the sound of bugling.

Stay tuned to RMEF’s Elk Network for further developments. (Cover image: Kelly Van Dellen/iStock)