SHANNON COUNTY, MoThe Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is reaching out to the public for help in identifying a poacher who illegally shot and killed a bull elk near Klepzi Mill in Shannon County over the past weekend. A local deer hunter made the discovery and told MDC of the incident.

Shannon County Conservation Agent Brad Hadley located the adult elk, which had been shot and left in the vicinity of Klepzig Mill during Missouri’s firearms deer season opening weekend on Nov. 11 and 12. The entire carcass was abandoned in the field and later transported to MDC’s Central Regional Office and Conservation Research Center in Columbia for necropsy.

Missouri’s Operation Game Thief (OGT) is offering $20,000 as a reward for any information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the elk’s shooting.

Conservation agents are asking anyone with information to contact the Operation Game Thief hotline at 800-392-1111.

Callers have the option to remain anonymous, and those providing information leading to a conviction stand to receive the $20,000 reward.

Elk in Missouri:

MDC initiated the elk restoration project in 2011 by reintroducing the first group of elk to the Peck Ranch Conservation Area in south-central Missouri. Originating from Kentucky, these elk underwent rigorous disease testing and quarantine before being transported to Missouri.

In subsequent years, additional elk were introduced to the state in 2012 and 2013. This collaborative effort laid the foundation for the Missouri elk herd across regions in Carter, Shannon, and Reynolds counties, resulting in a core group of 108 elk.