Nashville, Tennessee - At the December 13-14, 2006 Tennessee
Wildlife Resources Commission meeting in Nashville, the Tennessee Wildlife
Resources Agency presented their proposal for hunting elk in Tennessee.
Elk were reintroduced into Tennessee in December of 2000. After two
additional releases, a total of 167 elk have been released in East
Tennessee’s TWRA wildlife management areas at Royal Blue and Sundquist.
The elk population, established in counties in the Upper Cumberland
Plateau, has been monitored by TWRA since the release. Preliminary surveys
and computer modeling data indicates the Tennessee elk population to be
around 160 animals.
At the May, 2006 Commission meeting, the TWRC had requested that TWRA bring
a proposal back to the Commission with a goal of establishing an elk hunt
in 2007. TWRA staff has been reviewing the introduction of elk in other
eastern states, reviewing current Tennessee laws, and holding meetings to
get public input into a potential Tennessee elk hunt. In addition, Agency
personnel have been surveying the elk population to get a real estimate of
At today’s Commission meeting, the TWRA staff proposed establishing an elk
hunt process that would include: (1) establishing a non-refundable
application fee, (2) establishing the ability for an elk permit to be
issued to a non-profit group to raise funds to support the elk program in
Tennessee, (3) establish an elk hunting license.
The Commission directed the TWRA to proceed with the necessary data
collection, legislation, and rules to establish an elk hunt in Tennessee,”
said TWRA Region IV Manager, Bob Nichols. “The Commission advised our staff
to continue to work toward an elk hunt no later than 2008.”
In addition to presenting the hunt proposal, the TWRA announced that
approval had been received from the Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture,
Ken Givens, to allow for the importation of additional elk into the state.
Tennessee has been in contact with the original source of reintroduced
Tennessee elk, Elk Island National Park in Alberta, Canada. Officials there
now say they may have up to 200 surplus elk in their herd available to be
transported and introduced into the Tennessee elk population.
TWRA is currently working to obtain the necessary funding and permits to go
to Canada and bring those elk back to the state for a mid-winter release.
Biologists and wildlife managers predict the additional elk will help
insure a more healthy and productive elk population in Tennessee.
“I’m very encouraged to hear that there’s a strong possibility of adding
more animals to our elk herd in the next several months,” Gary Kimsey,
Chairman of the TWRC Wildlife Committee commented. “The TWRA staff has
worked hard to manage and monitor our existing herd. Public support for elk
hunting in Tennessee has been high. The goal of this commission is to
proceed as quickly as prudently possible to implement an elk hunt in
Tennessee, no later than the 2008 hunting season.”