The Scioto County Commissioners added their stamp of approval to a plan to reintroduce elk back into Ohio. Elk were common in the state when European settlers arrived in the 1700s but disappeared in the mid-1850s due to hunting. Interestingly enough, white-tail deer also disappeared from the state by the 1900s but were re-introduced right here in Scioto County in 1936.
The plan involves bringing a small number of elk from western states to a designated release site in southeastern Ohio, including Scioto County. These release sites have been chosen because it has a suitable habitat and is far from agricultural areas where elk could cause damage to crops.
“I like elk,” said Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis. “They’re native to Ohio but were hunted out of the state. All of the states around us have made significant efforts to reintroduce them.” Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and West Virginia have successfully brought the animals back.
“We absolutely support the idea,” Commissioner Cathy Coleman said. She pointed out that Scioto County was among the areas considered the best spots to start reintroducing the animals.
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The elk will be quarantined and tested for disease prior to transport to Ohio. Once they arrive, they will be released into a large, fenced area where they can acclimate to their new surroundings and become accustomed to the habitat.
Over time, the fence will be gradually removed, allowing the elk to roam freely within the designated area. The goal of the reintroduction is to restore a native species to Ohio and provide recreational opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts and hunters.