Contact(s): Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist, 608-261-7589
MADISON - State wildlife officials are reminding the public, and especially hunters, to be aware of elk on the landscape in central and far northern Wisconsin as they enjoy the fall season.
Elk were first reintroduced near Clam Lake in 1995. The Clam Lake elk range includes portions of southeast Bayfield, southwest Ashland, eastern Sawyer, northeast Rusk, and western Price counties. Although elk use private lands in these areas, they are often found on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, county and industrial forest lands, and the Flambeau River State Forest. Most of the approximately 190 elk live near the towns of Clam Lake, Butternut, Winter, Draper, Tony, Shanagolden and Glidden.
The Black River elk range is located in Jackson County. While the majority of the herd resides in the Black River State Forest to the southeast of Black River Falls, a few of the approximately 60 animals in the herd have wandered into surrounding counties since their reintroduction in 2015.
"After a very active rut in 2016, we believe we've had an excellent calving season with good survivorship of in both elk ranges," said Kevin Wallenfang, Department of Natural Resources deer and elk ecologist. "As a result, both elk ranges hold a significant number of calves at 150 to 200 pounds, or about the size of an adult white-tailed deer. Please be careful while hunting in the elk range, not only while afield, but also while you drive to your hunting spots."
Deer hunters in these areas are asked to use caution and are reminded that it is currently illegal to shoot an elk in Wisconsin. A helpful graphic is available for those looking for more information regarding the difference between an elk and a white-tailed deer in the field.
"More and more people are becoming aware and excited about our elk herds in the state, and that excitement will grow as the herds grow," Wallenfang says. "We need everyone to take ownership in them so that both herds continue to increase and provide recreational opportunities in the form of viewing and, eventually, a hunt."
To receive email updates regarding current translocation efforts, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select the "elk in Wisconsin" and "wildlife projects" distribution lists.
For more information regarding elk in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "elk."