Wisconsin DNR announces first modern-day elk hunt for fall of 2018

The DNR announced the state’s first modern-day elk hunt for the fall of 2018 via a press release Tuesday afternoon, March 13.

Four of 10 tags will be distributed to Wisconsin resident hunters through a lottery drawing, with applications being made available on Tuesday, May 1. A fifth tag will go to a Wisconsin resident through a raffle drawing to be conducted by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF). The five remaining tags will be distributed to tribal members from the state’s six Chippewa tribes.

The hunt will take place within the original elk release range in the Clam Lake area that covers parts of Sawyer, Bayfield, Ashland, and Price counties. That herd began with the release of 25 elk from Michigan’s Pigeon River State Forest in 1995.

“This northern herd is projected to reach a population level of over 200 animals this year, including a high proportion of bulls,” said DNR big-game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang.

This will be a bull-only hunt, and only Wisconsin residents are eligible to apply for an elk tag. The application fee is $10. Applications will be available starting May 1 through the DNR’s Go WILD system. Prior to receiving their carcass tag, all drawing winners will be required to complete an elk hunter education course prior to the start of the season.

Those interested in purchasing raffle tickets may do so at RMEF.org/Wisconsin.

This inaugural elk season will be open from Oct. 13 to Nov. 11, and Dec. 13-21. Areas where Kentucky elk were released between 2015-17 will be off limits to hunting until the population increases to levels identified in the elk management plan.

Only Wisconsin residents are eligible to receive a harvest tag. Those tags may be transferred to a Wisconsin resident youth hunter 17 years or younger.

Wallenfang said the harvest quota was determined by the DNR’s Elk Advisory Committee, which in addition to DNR biologists and researchers, includes representatives from RMEF, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Jackson County Forest and Parks, Conservation Congress, Forest Service, Wisconsin Bowhunters Association, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, UW-Stevens Point, and Ho-Chunk Nation.

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