Elk at Peck Ranch Conservation Area in south-central Missouri. Credit: FILE PHOTO

Missouri sold nearly 14,000 elk and black bear hunting permit applications this year. The application process closed on May 31.

The Missouri Department of Conservation reports 8,562 of those are for elk hunting – lower than the 2021 and 2022 applications of roughly 9,700. As for black bear hunting permit applications, 5,374 were sold this year, compared to 5,881 last year and 6,335 in 2021.

The cost to submit a bear hunting application is $10 and if you are chosen through a random drawing, the permit is $25. To submit a bull elk hunting application, the cost is $10 and if you are chosen through the random drawing, the permit is $50.

Five elk hunting permits and 400 black bear hunting permits will be offered.

The 2023 Missouri black bear hunting season is Oct. 16-25. The elk archery hunting season is Oct. 21-29, and the elk firearms portion is Dec. 9-17.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, an updated population estimate derived in 2019 determined that Missouri is home to about 540-840 black bears and the population is growing roughly 9% each year.

The department says Missouri has about 250 elk in the eastern Ozarks.

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