Virginia to Restore Elk; RMEF Pledges support


The board of directors f the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has voted to restore a wild elk herd in part of the state, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has responded by pledging support for the effort. Possibilities could include RMEF funding assistance, technical expertise and /or volunteer labor.


The state’s restoration plan calls for relocating 75 Elk into Buchanan County in southwest Virginia.

Releases could begin by 2012.  Biologists are hoping for a sustainable Elk population and a limited elk-hunting season within four years.  County officials are expecting significant economic and tourism benefits similar to those in neighboring Kentucky, which launched its own restoration program over a decade ago and now boast the largest elk herd in east of the Rockies.


At an agency meeting on Aug. 17 RMEF volunteers and staff spoke passionately in favor of elk restoration, although other organizations did oppose, the board voted unanimously to restore Elk into Buchanan County, which strongly supported the concept.


“Hats off to the citizens of Virginia, and especially those of Buchanan County, who understand there is no higher calling in conservation than restoring a native game species to sustainable, hunt-able, balanced populations. For everyone who doesn’t understand it today, I believe you’ll be convinced over time that this was the right decision, the right thing to do, the right way to go about it,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.

To be a part of this historic conservation effort in Virginia, join and support RMEF. Visit  “Attend an Event” to find fundraisers planned across the state. For additional information, call 800-CALL ELK or contact Chris Croy, RMEF regional director for Virginia, at 704-551-6223 or

Virginia Moves Toward Restoring Elk Population

Kentucky’s elk herd runneth over, and Virginia has decided to welcome the overflow and build a sustainable, hunt able population of its own.
In August, the governing board of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) voted unanimously to end unmanaged harvest of elk by state deer hunters. For years, any Virginian with a deer permit could shoot an elk wandering across the state line from Kentucky. That practice is expected to officially end this fall.
Additionally, the VDGIF board also moved toward an official elk reintroduction and management plan for southwestern Virginia.
“Kudos to conservation leaders in Virginia. Restoring a native game species to management levels is one of the highest achievements in conservation, and it’s great to see Virginia aspiring to that goal for elk,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.
He added, “The Elk Foundation is extremely proud of the role we played in restoring elk to neighboring Kentucky. With a lot of money, technical assistance from our staff and support from our volunteers, we helped relocate over 1,500 elk to Kentucky between 1997 and 2002. Today that herd has more than 11,000 animals and offers incredible hunting opportunities with legitimate chances to take world-class bulls.”
Research shows that Kentucky elk have dispersed into four neighboring states with varying degrees of hospitality. Virginians originally wanted to keep elk out but now the culture appears to be changing, said Allen.
As an extension of its mission to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat, RMEF promotes sound management of wild, free-ranging elk, which may be hunted or otherwise enjoyed.
A YouTube video clip of the VDGIF board discussion and vote is available at at the URL below.

Learn more about elk restoration and management alternatives in Virginia at

“The Elk Capital of Virginia”

View the 23 Sept 12

Elk Article in the

Bristol Herald Paper.

Our Thanks to:

Allie Robinson

Attend An Event:

RMEF chapters are hosting fundraising events nationwide to help conserve wildlife habitat. Big game banquets, for example, combine fun and fundraising for an entertaining evening as well as additional dollars for RMEF projects in elk country. We hope to see you at an RMEF event soon!