House committee approves elk bill

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - An Appalachian lawmaker's legislation that
would give local communities a voice in deciding whether elk are
released in their areas has won initial approval.

Democratic Rep. Rick Nelson of Middlesboro said Thursday the elk
may seem loveable to visitors, but the majestic animals have become a nuisance and a hazard in eastern Kentucky.

His legislation won initial approval in the House Tourism
Development and Energy Committee, and now heads to the full House.

Elk herds roaming the Appalachian hills have grown to more than
10,000 since the animals were brought into Kentucky in 1997 from
several Western states.

Nelson says the animals trample gardens, knock down fences and
tear siding off houses. They have also become a hazard on roadways.

Seventh District Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Doug Hensley says there are no plans to stock anymore elk in eastern Kentucky, but they might move some nuisance elk to other areas.

He says the thriving elk herd has become a tremendous tourism draw for the region.

The legislation is House Bill 353.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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