Back in January the N.C. Wildlife Commission proposed a new rule that would've resulted in elk losing their status as a species of special concern. This special designation was originally assigned as part of the reintroduction experiment of the elk to the Cataloochee area of the Great Smoky Mountains in 2001.
With this rule in place, it has been illegal to shoot an elk — both inside the national park boundaries and outside the park. If delisted as a species of special concern, elk would've retained their status as a “non-game” animal, making hunting them illegal even if they wander outside of the national park. However, landowners would've been able to shoot problem elk without a permit under the proposed change. The commission said the proposal was put forward by its biological staff because they said the special status was no longer necessary.
Yesterday, however, the N.C. Wildlife Commission voted not to remove the elk from the state’s list of Special Concern species. This was a clear victory to all the people who voiced their concern on this during the public hearing phase.
The Commission also announced that is has approved of several changes to state hunting, fishing and trapping regulations. You can read more about these by clicking here.
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.