Two bull elks were struck by vehicles in Northwest Missouri in less than a two week period.
A bull elk was killed on Sept. 16 after being struck by a motor vehicle in Nodaway County and a bull elk was struck by a tractor trailer on Sept. 29 in Holt County.
Jade Wright, Holt County conservation agent, said the elk killed in the county was at the 77 mile marker on the south bound lane of I-29. The accident occurred between the Oregon exit and the exit to Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge.
This was the first elk struck by an automobile in Holt County.
Wright said the antlers were 4-points on one side and 5-points on the other side.
After the elk was struck on the interstate, there was a report that the elk had previously been observed on a trail camera on private property.
“This particular elk was also caught on a trail camera just west of the location where it was struck on the interstate,” Wright said. “We were notified after the elk was hit. We had no previous reports of this particular elk in the area.”
He said there have been other reports of elk sightings in the county. Last year, there were two elk sightings in the county on trail cameras.
Wright said the department does not believe the elk in this part of the state are coming from those reintroduced into southern Missouri. He said they are a relatively small herd that is being monitored.
“All of the confirmed sightings or those hit on the interstate are bull elk so we suspect they are being pushed out of their home territory and home range,” Wright said. “We think they are coming from the west and not from the population that we have in southern Missouri.”
Wright said the elk appeared to have been hiding in the crop fields and were hit by vehicles in the time frame after harvest began.
He said there were no tags or markings on the elk. The conservation department is currently testing both elk for disease.
Elk were originally native to the state of Missouri. By 1830, elk were becoming scarce and were eventually limited to just the northwestern and southeastern regions. By 1895, they were believed to be extirpated or absent from the state.
The conservation department encourages landowners to check trail cameras and report sightings to their local agent.