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Several sportsmen from Tennessee venture out west each fall in hopes of bagging a trophy elk. In the future elk hunts may well become part of the fall hunting opportunities right here in the Volunteer State.

It did not take long for history to be made on a frosty morning after the first elk hunt began in Tennessee in almost 150 years as four hunters recorded their respective places in the history book.

Charles “Chuck” Flynn from the Rockford community in Blount County, has been confirmed as the first person to legally harvest an elk in Tennessee since documentation from Obion County in 1865.

Three other hunters, Craig Gardner of Parrottsville, and Ronald Woodard of Oak Ridge quickly followed suit Monday. The fourth elk was taken by Jeff Moses of Cleveland.

All five permit holders bagged elk. The fifth and final elk was harvested by Franklin resident Tami Miller late Tuesday afternoon.

Four of the permits were drawn from almost 13,000 entries to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in a computer drawing in early June. Miller’s permit was purchased by her husband, Andy, for $17,700 as the high bidder in an auction to benefit the state’s elk restoration program.

TWRA partnered with other conservation organizations such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The Tennessee Wildlife Federation, the Campbell Outdoor Recreation Association and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation to reintroduce elk to the state. This effort began with the first elk release held on December 19, 2000, that put 50 free ranging elk from Elk Island National Park, Alberta, Canada on the Royal Blue Wildlife Management area. Since then, additional animals have been supplied from Land Between The Lakes and Elk Island. The estimated population now stands at more than 300.

“When we began the elk program, we had two objectives, one was to have an elk herd to provide wildlife viewing opportunities and the second was to have a huntable population,” said Greg Wathen, TWRA Wildlife Division Chief.

“We have always intended to have these animals be hunted. It’s been nine years since our first release and we didn’t want to wait too long before we starting hunting. We feel we have a substantial population and believe we will be able to hunt these animals from here on out.”

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