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When we traveled to Missouri for Pheasant Fest last month, we saw a beautiful section of the country. Missouri had ducks and geese everywhere, cropland that surely hid pheasants, and deer seemingly every mile of the journey. What the landscape didn’t suggest was elk habitat, though that is far from the truth.

Elk, in one subspecies or another, once roamed as far east as North Carolina, ranging across the once prairie-like expanses of the Piedmont. Bulls regularly bugled in the Midwestern states, as common a sight as the bison. Lewis and Clark started feeding their Corps of Discovery with elk almost as soon as they left St. Louis.

Thanks to reintroduction efforts by various agencies, elk are now back in the Ozarks — an exciting, if not universally welcome, event.

– Taylor J. Pardue