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Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
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CardinalJim Offline
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Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
Stepping away from politics a bit to celebrate a success story

In 1997 1540 head of Rocky Mountain Elk were relocated from Arizona, Kansas, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah to Kentucky in one of the most ambitious relocation restoration projects in our Nation’s history.

No one at the time knew how successful the effort would be. The elk were moved from meadows of the Rocky Mountains to reclaimed mining sites across Southeastern Kentucky.

In 25 years the relocation effort has proven so successful the Kentucky herd has grown from the original 1500 head to nearly 16,000. The largest elk herd east of the Rocky Mountains. The Kentucky herd is now being used to help restore elk to Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia. The natural relocation of the Kentucky herd to Virginia went so well on its own that Virginia decided to help it along by accepting 75 head from Kentucky relocated to Buchanan County, Va.

Back in January of this year we started moving started moving some our herd from Southeastern Kentucky to the Daniel Boone Forest in McCreary County in Central Kentucky in an effort to expand the herd westward. Recently Kentucky elk have immigrated naturally into Pendleton County in Northern Kentucky. Pendleton is part of the Cincinnati Metro Area.

I’ve been a member of the RMEF for over 20 years now. I joined because I wanted my son and I to be part of restoring a native species back into Kentucky. In the last few years its not uncommon to hear elk bulls bugling on my property near Staffordsville in Johnson County, Ky. An amazing sound if you have never heard it.

This video documents the RMEF helping KDFWR relocate cows and bulls to McCreary County back in January of this year





This video is a recording of elk bull bugling. This is a common sound again in the mountains of East Ky. Its especially loud this time of year during elk mating season.



(This post was last modified: 09-21-2022 05:43 AM by CardinalJim.)
09-21-2022 05:36 AM
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gdunn Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
This is awesome.. I know this is being done in a few other states that once had elk that was over hunted.
09-21-2022 05:59 AM
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CardinalJim Offline
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RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
(09-21-2022 05:59 AM)gdunn Wrote:  This is awesome.. I know this is being done in a few other states that once had elk that was over hunted.

Yes it is.

Elk used to be native to almost all of the South and Southeastern US. I’ve read where the last native elk east of the Mississippi was killed in the 1880’s.

I don’t believe anyone had any idea how successful this program would be in returning Elk to this part of the country. My hope is in the next hundred years we see elk herds established in all the southern states.

The link shows what used to be the natural range of Elk in the Southeast.

I wanted to also note that Tennessee has scheduled its first elk hunt in over 150 years! That’s cause for a celebration. To think my grandchildren and great grandchildren may get the opportunity to enjoy hunting or just watching these beautiful creatures in the return to their natural habitat is awe inspiring.

https://wildlifemanagement.institute/out...rospective
(This post was last modified: 09-21-2022 06:22 AM by CardinalJim.)
09-21-2022 06:17 AM
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gdunn Offline
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RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
I know here they've established elk again, but you have to apply for a tag via lottery.. They only give out so many tags so they don't get overhunted again.
09-21-2022 06:40 AM
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Eagleaidaholic Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
Look for the wolves to move with them.
09-21-2022 06:58 AM
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gdunn Offline
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RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
(09-21-2022 06:58 AM)Eagleaidaholic Wrote:  Look for the wolves to move with them.

It's all about balance.
09-21-2022 07:52 AM
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TripleA Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
Great OP. Thanks. Never knew this.
09-21-2022 08:02 AM
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bill dazzle Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
This is fantastic and I'm all for it. One concern might be that the elk's historical natural predators (primarily the mountain lion and grey wolf) are no longer found in that part of the country. This will be interesting to follow.

Thanks for posting, C-Jim.
09-21-2022 08:13 AM
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shere khan Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
Its an amazing thing to see elk out in the wild.

Most folks dont know this but white tailed deer were almost extinct in the South. Deer were imported from other states to reestablish their herds.

"While Georgia boasts around 1.2 million deer now, by 1895 the number had dwindled to near zero. Because of land-clearing for farming, and overhunting, often with packs of dogs, deer had become nearly non-existent in the state."

https://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/cat...9cce0.html
09-21-2022 08:22 AM
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Claw Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
(09-21-2022 07:52 AM)gdunn Wrote:  
(09-21-2022 06:58 AM)Eagleaidaholic Wrote:  Look for the wolves to move with them.

It's all about balance.

Screw that. Wolves are hunted out for damn good reasons.
09-21-2022 08:33 AM
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TigerBlue4Ever Offline
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RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
(09-21-2022 05:36 AM)CardinalJim Wrote:  Stepping away from politics a bit to celebrate a success story

In 1997 1540 head of Rocky Mountain Elk were relocated from Arizona, Kansas, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah to Kentucky in one of the most ambitious relocation restoration projects in our Nation’s history.

No one at the time knew how successful the effort would be. The elk were moved from meadows of the Rocky Mountains to reclaimed mining sites across Southeastern Kentucky.

In 25 years the relocation effort has proven so successful the Kentucky herd has grown from the original 1500 head to nearly 16,000. The largest elk herd east of the Rocky Mountains. The Kentucky herd is now being used to help restore elk to Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia. The natural relocation of the Kentucky herd to Virginia went so well on its own that Virginia decided to help it along by accepting 75 head from Kentucky relocated to Buchanan County, Va.

Back in January of this year we started moving started moving some our herd from Southeastern Kentucky to the Daniel Boone Forest in McCreary County in Central Kentucky in an effort to expand the herd westward. Recently Kentucky elk have immigrated naturally into Pendleton County in Northern Kentucky. Pendleton is part of the Cincinnati Metro Area.

I’ve been a member of the RMEF for over 20 years now. I joined because I wanted my son and I to be part of restoring a native species back into Kentucky. In the last few years its not uncommon to hear elk bulls bugling on my property near Staffordsville in Johnson County, Ky. An amazing sound if you have never heard it.

This video documents the RMEF helping KDFWR relocate cows and bulls to McCreary County back in January of this year





This video is a recording of elk bull bugling. This is a common sound again in the mountains of East Ky. Its especially loud this time of year during elk mating season.




Outstanding! Epic Applause
09-21-2022 08:33 AM
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TigerBlue4Ever Offline
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RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
When I first started deer hunting in the 70's it wasn't unusual for people to have hunted for years before getting their first kill. These days it's common for new hunters to bag one on their first few hunts. CWD has had an impact on that here in West TN recently though. I have access to a friends 1500 acre farm in Fayette County, a county that was producing some monster bucks as recently as 5-10 years ago, when I first started hunting it I was bagging some really nice bucks every year. I haven't see near the activity there over the last 2-3 years. Our place in North Memphis has seen a decline in the size and quality of the deer and the herds.
09-21-2022 08:38 AM
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CardinalJim Offline
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RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
(09-21-2022 08:22 AM)shere khan Wrote:  Its an amazing thing to see elk out in the wild.

Most folks dont know this but white tailed deer were almost extinct in the South. Deer were imported from other states to reestablish their herds.

"While Georgia boasts around 1.2 million deer now, by 1895 the number had dwindled to near zero. Because of land-clearing for farming, and overhunting, often with packs of dogs, deer had become nearly non-existent in the state."

https://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/cat...9cce0.html

Wow….
I never knew that.
Thanks for sharing
09-21-2022 10:48 AM
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Captain Bearcat Offline
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Post: #14
RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
(09-21-2022 06:17 AM)CardinalJim Wrote:  
(09-21-2022 05:59 AM)gdunn Wrote:  This is awesome.. I know this is being done in a few other states that once had elk that was over hunted.

Yes it is.

Elk used to be native to almost all of the South and Southeastern US. I’ve read where the last native elk east of the Mississippi was killed in the 1880’s.

I don’t believe anyone had any idea how successful this program would be in returning Elk to this part of the country. My hope is in the next hundred years we see elk herds established in all the southern states.

The link shows what used to be the natural range of Elk in the Southeast.

I wanted to also note that Tennessee has scheduled its first elk hunt in over 150 years! That’s cause for a celebration. To think my grandchildren and great grandchildren may get the opportunity to enjoy hunting or just watching these beautiful creatures in the return to their natural habitat is awe inspiring.

https://wildlifemanagement.institute/out...rospective

If they're in the South, then there's no reason they couldn't cross the Ohio River & thrive in southeastern OH, southern IN, southern IL, and western IL.
09-21-2022 11:34 AM
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shere khan Offline
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RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
(09-21-2022 11:34 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(09-21-2022 06:17 AM)CardinalJim Wrote:  
(09-21-2022 05:59 AM)gdunn Wrote:  This is awesome.. I know this is being done in a few other states that once had elk that was over hunted.

Yes it is.

Elk used to be native to almost all of the South and Southeastern US. I’ve read where the last native elk east of the Mississippi was killed in the 1880’s.

I don’t believe anyone had any idea how successful this program would be in returning Elk to this part of the country. My hope is in the next hundred years we see elk herds established in all the southern states.

The link shows what used to be the natural range of Elk in the Southeast.

I wanted to also note that Tennessee has scheduled its first elk hunt in over 150 years! That’s cause for a celebration. To think my grandchildren and great grandchildren may get the opportunity to enjoy hunting or just watching these beautiful creatures in the return to their natural habitat is awe inspiring.

https://wildlifemanagement.institute/out...rospective

If they're in the South, then there's no reason they couldn't cross the Ohio River & thrive in southeastern OH, southern IN, southern IL, and western IL.

Probably do better. I doubt they would survive in the deep south
09-21-2022 11:42 AM
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bobdizole Offline
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Post: #16
RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
When we visited the Rockies last year we saw a couple out in the wild. Majestic animals
09-21-2022 12:51 PM
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Gamenole Offline
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RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
Great conservation story and can also provide some much-needed tourism dollars for a blighted but beautiful part of the world in Eastern KY and SW Virginia! Great job by the Commonwealth (KY in this case) for getting this started, running it well and now helping their neighbors out.

I love to see stories like this work out and it reminded me of one I saw last week about the relocation of African cheetahs from Africa to India to hopefully replace the Asiatic Cheetah which is extinct in India. I do hope it will be similarly successful -

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/s...om-namibia
09-21-2022 01:40 PM
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TripleA Offline
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RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
Damn, we have all found something to agree about.
09-21-2022 01:44 PM
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MileHighBronco Offline
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Post: #19
RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
There have been similar stories out west where I reside. At one point many years ago, hunters had decimated the herds in Colorado and some Canadian elk were introduced. Due to apex predators having been decimated, like Grizzlies, they thrived and now are carefully managed so they don't overpopulate and decimate the ecosystem.

Interestingly, some in Colorado have been vocal about reintroducing wolves back into the state to try and bring things back into balance but they are opposed by the state's ranching community. Yet, there have been sightings of wolves in the state in recent years, thought to be loners who migrated from Wyoming. There was even evidence that they are paired up and reproducing.

A fairly large population of Colorado elk were reintroduced into Yellowstone NP years ago.
09-21-2022 01:59 PM
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TigerBlue4Ever Offline
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RE: Kentucky Mountain Elk Expansion
(09-21-2022 01:44 PM)TripleA Wrote:  Damn, we have all found something to agree about.

Halt the presses.
09-21-2022 08:59 PM
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