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I am writing to the Herald to comment on your 9/23/2010 story, “Hundreds Attend Public Meetings on Elk Restoration.” The story put out by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is filled with distortions, or what people in the real world might call lies.
MDC wants Missourians to believe that elk will be good neighbors and that only a small number will ‘wander off the reservation’ and cause problems to farmers and drivers.
Here’s part of a story in the Arkansas Times, entitled “Elk Don’t Make Good Neighbors.”
Native [Arkansas] Ozark farmers cringe.
For almost two decades, some complain, elk have broken into their fields and ravaged their crops. The state Game and Fish Commission, which introduced the herd, is wearing out its welcome. The elk now range over 315,000 acres, only 27 percent of which is publicly owned.
[They also raid garden's, eating everything in site, making for a long and hard Winter for those who depend on that produce.]
Hay fields are especially vulnerable. Last summer, when the Magness family raked the first crop, they only got 15 bales — in a field that typically yields over 60. The second cutting was worse. He put up fences, but elk can leap 7 feet into the air from a standstill; they also can crush the fences.
Magness called in Game and Fish agents, showed them wide trails cutting through the field and piles of elk manure.
“The only thing I got out of them was a handful of rubber bullets for my shotgun to run ’em off,” Magness said.
The farmer was forced to purchase and haul hay over the mountain, from a source 75 miles away.
The MDC also tell fibs about how the large majority of people attending these meetings are in favor of the Elk project. But let me quote a story in the Salem News entitled, “Elk debate similar to arguments from 2000.”
The majority of opinion voiced 10 years ago was against the Department of Conservation reintroducing elk, and that was the case again at a Sept. 21 public meeting. Both were held at Salem City Hall Auditorium.
Let’s look at this story from a safety angle. I imagine nearly all Douglas County residents have either experienced first-hand a vehicle accident involving a deer or know someone who did. The amount of damage a 150-pound deer causes to a car or small truck is tremendous, plus, many times the occupants get injured and occasionally, killed.
Now imagine what the carnage would be from slamming into an 800-pound bull elk. Your next stop would be the funeral home.
The MDC is trying to play this story as bringing back the elk to restore the native habitat, but I believe the real reason is the money they’ll make off selling hunting licenses and tourists who drive here to stop on the roads–causing more safety problems–to gaze at the elk.
I don’t trust the MDC, since for a number of years, they have uhh, what today’s devious politician, when caught lying, would just say he “misspoke the truth.” I know from personal experience as a child that if I had been caught lying to my parents, then tried to be clever and say that I hadn’t lied, I just ‘misspoke the truth,’ that a certain part of my body would of gotten a very warm greeting from either a hickory switch or a leather belt.
For a number of years, sightings of mountain lions/cougars being seen in Boone County, Missouri, were being pooh-poohed by the MDC, with them claiming the person was seeing some large dog or coyote.
That worked until one day, someone walking the Katy Trail with their cell phone took a picture of the mountain lion and all of a sudden, the MDC got real quiet.
I urge people to contact their Missouri Reps and Senators and tell them it would be foolish, dangerous and costly to bring back a species of non-native elk.
Either we stop this madness now, or in the future, watch our gardens, crops and hay fields being devastated by herds of elk and either going to the hospital to visit a loved one who was seriously injured in an elk vehicle accident or visiting them for the last time in a funeral home.
RR 1, Ava