Ensuring the population stability of a popular wildlife resident is the primary reason behind the closure of the refuge area at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Peck Ranch Conservation Area.

A herd of elks  at Peck Ranch Conservation Area near Winona, MO.

Peck Ranch Conservation Area’s refuge will be closed April 1 to July 1 to minimize stress and human interference during the elk calving period.

Peck Ranch Area’s refuge will be closed April 1 to July 1 to minimize stress and human interference during the elk calving period.

Peck Ranch is home to about 120 elk, the majority of which roam on Peck Ranch’s 11,500-acre refuge. The spring closing of Peck Ranch’s refuge 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 at (573) 323-4249 or MDC’s Ozark Regional Office in West Plains at (417) 256-7161.