Wisconsin's first elk hunt to take place this fall

Elk in Sawyer County (WLUK file image)

(WLUK) -- For the first time in the state's history, Wisconsin will hold a managed elk hunt this fall.

The state Department of Natural Resources says the hunt will take place within the Clam Lake elk range of Sawyer, Bayfield, Ashland and Price counties. That's where elk were first reintroduced to the state from Michigan in 1995.

The DNR projects the herd's population will exceed 200 animals this year, with a high percentage of the elk being bulls, or adult males.

Last year, the state Natural Resources Board authorized the DNR to drop population restrictions barring an elk hunt.

The DNR has been importing elk from Kentucky in recent years in an effort to bolster the herd in Ashland County and establish a second herd in Jackson County. Those elk will be off-limits to hunters this year.

"It is important to note that the areas where Kentucky elk were released in Jackson County and the Flambeau River State Forest will not be included in this hunt," Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist, said in a news release. "This hunt concentrates on elk born here in Wisconsin over the past two decades -- we do not wish to take Kentucky elk, many of which are cows and may not be harvested."

There will be 10 tags available for the hunt, which is scheduled for Oct. 13-Nov. 11 and Dec. 13-21. Hunters will only be allowed to shoot bulls.

Four tags will go to Wisconsin residents through a DNR drawing. One tag will be awarded to a Wisconsin resident through a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation raffle. The rest will go to Wisconsin's six Chippewa tribes.

Hunters can apply for an elk tag beginning May 1. There is a $10 application fee.

Tags will only be granted to Wisconsin residents.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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