April 8, 2014
MADISON -- After evaluating available information and taking into account the severity of this winter, the state wildlife officials and several key partners have agreed that the state's first elk hunt in the modern era will have to wait at least one more year.
"We started the year with the birth of about 34 calves, inching us closer to a population of over 200 animals, which is the number required before a hunt will take place," said Kevin Wallenfang, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources big game ecologist and elk management program leader.
"However, several elk were lost due to a variety of causes this year and due to the severity of this winter we recently encountered the first incident of winter-related mortality since 2001," Wallenfang said. "It's disappointing to those who are eager for the first elk season, but there are a number of positive things to continue focusing on while we help the herd to increase. The long-term success of the elk herd is the priority."
According to state law, a Wisconsin elk hunt may not take place until the population surpasses 200 animals. Generally located near Clam Lake in Ashland County, Wisconsin's current elk herd is estimated to be roughly 190 animals after spring calving in 2014.
"We agree with the decision," said Lou George, a regional director for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. "It keeps getting closer to that magic 200, but it's just not there yet. Regardless, we will continue to support any and all efforts to restore wild elk to the state." The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has been a key partner in Wisconsin's reintroduction effort.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Wallenfang, 608-261-7589