Contact(s): Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist, 608-261-7589
MADISON - As anticipation and excitement build around Wisconsin's first managed elk hunt in state history taking place this fall, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced that the elk hunting license application period will open May 1.
"The most common question I've been asked is how many people we expect to apply for a tag," said DNR deer and elk ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. "With 600,000 deer hunters and over 120,000 people applying for bear tags each year, a chance to pursue yet another great big game animal in Wisconsin is going to be very appealing for a lot of hunters. We encourage everyone to throw their name in the hat to be one of five lucky people with an opportunity to hunt elk come October."
A total of five once-in-a-lifetime bull tags are being made available to state hunters for the inaugural hunt. Four tags will be awarded through a lottery drawing, with the fifth awarded through a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation raffle. Hunters may enter both, but can only win once. Those interested in entering the RMEF raffle should look for more information on the organization's website at www.rmef.org/Wisconsin (exit DNR).
Elk license applications can be purchased in the DNR Go Wild license system from May 1 - 31, and only Wisconsin residents may apply. Each potential hunter may apply once online at gowild.wi.gov or by visiting a license agent. The application fee is $10. RMEF raffle tickets are also $10 each, and there is no limit on the number of raffle tickets each individual may purchase. The cost of an elk hunting license for the winners of the license drawing is $49.
State drawing winners will be announced in early June and the winner of the RMEF raffle will be announced in August. Prior to obtaining an elk hunting license, all winners will be required to participate in a Wisconsin elk hunter education program offered prior to the hunt. The class will cover tissue collection and health testing, regulations and more.
The 2018 hunting season will occur only in the Clam Lake elk range in parts of Sawyer, Bayfield, Ashland, and Price counties in far north-central Wisconsin, where the original restoration effort was initiated with 25 elk from Michigan in 1995. The herd is projected to comfortably surpass 200 animals this year.
"I've also received a number of questions from folks who are concerned that, if they draw a tag, they won't have a place to hunt," Wallenfang said. "With approximately 70 percent of the elk range under public ownership and open to hunting, finding a place to hunt should not be a concern. Despite the somewhat remoteness of the area, there are campgrounds, hotels and restaurants, so everything you need is within easy reach."
Wisconsin's inaugural elk hunting season will adhere to the following guidelines:
For more information regarding elk in Wisconsin, go to dnr.wi.gov and search the keyword "elk." 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.