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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Department of Conservation officials say the state's elk herd is on track to be large enough in 2020 for the first hunt in more than a century.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that department officials outlined how a hunt will work if the rules get final approval by the conservation commission.

Five to ten permits are likely to be available and only Missouri residents will be eligible, officials said during a Wednesday webcast.

Department elk specialist Aaron Hildreth said the elk that were reintroduced to Missouri in 2011 now number about 175 and the herd is expected to be close to 200 animals by fall 2020.

The department hopes to grow the herd to 400 to 500 elk eventually and more hunting permits will likely become available in future years.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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