CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s wildlife officials hope they’ll have a small herd of 15 to 35 elk established in the hills of southern West Virginia by some time next spring.
That and other details about the state’s elk-reintroduction effort came to light this week when the Division of Natural Resources released for public comment its new elk management plan.
Overall, the plan calls for DNR officials to acquire and stock a total of 150 elk by 2019, with an eye toward developing a herd of about 2,500 animals spread over all or parts of seven southwestern counties.
Agency administrators had to come up with a new plan because the previous one, adopted in 2011, assumed an elk population would develop naturally from animals migrating into the state from Kentucky and Virginia. The revised plan reflects the agency’s revised goal of an active elk-stocking program.
Paul Johansen, the DNR’s wildlife chief, said his agency’s ability to meet the plan’s goals will hinge on finding a ready source of elk. The most logical place, he added, is eastern Kentucky, which is home to more than 10,000 of the animals. DNR officials have been in contact with their counterparts in the Bluegrass State, but so far no agreement has been reached…