VAN BUREN, Mo. – Ensuring the population stability of a popular wildlife resident is the primary reason behind the upcoming closure of the refuge area at the Missouri Department of Conservation's (MDC) Peck Ranch Conservation Area. Peck Ranch Area's refuge will be closed April 1 to July 1 to minimize stress and human interference during the annual elk calving period.
Peck Ranch is home to about 120 elk, the majority of which roam on the area's 11,500-acre refuge. The spring closing of the refuge area has been an annual occurrence since MDC's elk restoration project began in 2011. Public access will still be allowed to the approximately 12,000 acres of the area that are outside the area's marked refuge fence.
Peck Ranch Conservation Area encompasses more than 23,000 acres in Shannon and Carter counties.
Peck Ranch's elk-viewing automobile route is included in the area that will be closed to the public. However, the auto tour on Current River Conservation Area is open year round.
For more information, call the Peck Ranch Conservation Area, 573-323-4249 or MDC's Ozark Regional Office in West Plains, 417-256-7161. Information is also available online at the "Atlas" feature at mdc.mo.gov.