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Missouri lawmaker wants state liability for elk

A Missouri lawmaker wants the state to be liable for damage caused to crops or cars by wild elk.

Republican Rep. Casey Guernsey is a farmer from northwest Missouri -- far away from where the Department of Conservation plans to reintroduce elk in rural southern Missouri.

But Guernsey raised concerns during a legislative budget hearing Monday that elk could stray -- eating corn, soybeans and alfalfa and potentially getting hit by vehicles. He asked whether the Conservation Department would be willing to reimburse people for damage.

Department Deputy Director Tim Ripperger says the agency historically has opposed efforts to hold it liable for damage caused by wildlife.

The agency expects to spend $411,000 to bring up to 150 elk from Kentucky to Shannon, Carter and Reynolds counties in Missouri.

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