Authorities in East Texas are trying to determine how an elk ended up in the area -- and wildlife officials said the animal can be legally hunted.

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The Gregg County Sheriff's Office said deputies shooed the elk, which is far from any of its usual North American habitats, away from a busy roadway Saturday near the East Texas Regional Airport.

The sighting led to an influx of hunters contacting state officials to ask whether they could legally hunt the animal, and officials confirmed exotic species can be hunted in Texas.

"It can be taken any time of year as long as it is taken on land that the person can be there legally, and they have a hunting license a Texas resident hunting license," Wood County game warden Kurt Kelley told KLTV.

The sheriff's office said the elk is believed to have escaped from somewhere, but no one has come forward to claim the animal.