Ozark Outdoors

Elk refuge will close during calving season at Peck Ranch

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The refuge portion of the Missouri Department of Conservation's Peck Ranch Conservation Area will be closed from April 1- July 1 to increase the chance of elk calving success, which will be taking place in the refuge during this period.

A collared elk fawn at the refuge portion of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Peck Ranch Conservation Area will be closed from April 1- July 1 to increase the chance of elk calving success, which will be taking place in the refuge during this period.

VAN BUREN, Mo. – Ensuring the population stability of a popular wildlife resident is the primary reason behind the upcoming closure of the refuge area at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Peck Ranch Conservation Area.

Peck Ranch Area’s refuge will be closed April 1-July 1 to minimize stress and human interference during the elk calving period. Peck Ranch is home to 125 elk, the majority of which roam on Peck Ranch’s 11,500-acre refuge.

The spring closing of Peck Ranch’s refuge has been an annual occurrence since MDC’s elk restoration project began in 2011. Public access will still be allowed to the approximately 12,000 acres of the area that are outside the area’s marked refuge fence. (Peck Ranch Conservation Area encompasses more than 23,000 acres in Shannon and Carter counties.) Peck Ranch’s elk-viewing automobile route is included in the area that will be closed to the public.

Peck Ranch’s refuge will also be closed Oct. 10-11, Oct. 24-26, Nov. 14-24 and Dec. 5-6 to accommodate deer hunting opportunities during those time periods.

For more information, call the Peck Ranch Conservation Area, 573-323-4249 or MDC’s Ozark Regional Office in West Plains, 417-256-7161. People can also get information about the Peck Ranch Area online at the “Atlas” feature of MDC’s website.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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