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Much of refuge closed today for elk hunt

The second of two public elk hunts on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is going on today through noon Thursday.

Thirty bull tags and 70 cow tags were issued for the hunt. Participants will be hunting nine units on the refuge, which means that most of the refuge will be closed to the public during that time. Only Area A, the eastern part of the refuge, will be open to the public. Only through traffic will be permitted, and motorists will not be allowed to stop on the side of the roads.

The hunt starts a half-hour before sunrise today, Wednesday and Thursday. It runs until a half-hour after sunset today and Wednesday and ends at noon Thursday.

Hunts like this are a management tool to reduce herd size to a level that the available habitat will support. The first elk was brought to the refuge from the Wichita, Kan., Zoo in 1908. Sixteen Rocky Mountain elk were received from Teton National Forest in 1911-12, and five more came from Jackson Hole, Wyo., in 1911. Today the refuge has a thriving herd with plenty of elk.

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