CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Elk have become a bit of a controversial subject in West Virginia.
Some hunters are clamoring for the Division of Natural Resources to launch an elk-stocking program. Opponents are concerned that reintroducing such large animals might cause unforeseen impacts.
It's interesting, then, that two bordering states are experiencing each side of the coin.
Maryland wildlife officials just finished a public-opinion survey that showed strong support for the stocking of elk in Garrett and Allegany counties.
The study, done by arguably the most respected outdoors-related opinion research firm in the country, revealed that 72 percent of Marylanders would like to see elk reintroduced to the Old Line State.
Interestingly, only 68 percent of the people who live in Garrett and Allegany counties want the reintroduction to happen.
The survey suggested that elk-based tourism would generate close to $3.1 million a year.
My friend Mike Sawyers, who writes for the Cumberland Times-News, reported that wildlife officials haven't yet determined whether the region contains suitable habitat for such large critters.
As a whole, though, it appears folks in Maryland are getting all het up about having elk.
Not everyone is as enamored of the idea.
Just outside the opposite border of West Virginia, citizens of eastern Kentucky have quite literally taken up arms to thin out an elk herd that's making their lives miserable.
For the past three years, Kentucky wildlife officials have allowed residents in the Stoney Fork area to shoot and kill elk that come down from the mountains, trample lawns, tear up shrubbery and get hit by cars.