Gaylord, Mich. – The state’s elk license quota for the 2011
season would be 155 and the October hunt period would be eliminated
under a proposal presented to the state Natural Resources
Commission last week. The commission is expected to vote on the
proposal at its April 7 meeting in Lansing.
The DNR’s management goal for the state’s elk herd is 800 to 900
animals prior to the spring calving season. The 2010 winter survey
revealed between 592 and 964 elk, with a median estimate of 778.
Biologists estimate that with last year’s harvest of 180 to 190 elk
and the current level of reproduction that the population should be
close to the 800- to 900-animal goal.
“The department is proposing a decrease in elk quotas to reduce
anticipated harvest with the intent to maintain elk numbers near
the population goal,” the DNR Wildlife Division wrote in a memo to
A license quota of 155 would be a decrease of 75 licenses from the
2010 season. Of the licenses being recommended, 55 would be for any
elk, and 100 would be for a cow or a calf only.
Michigan’s modern-day elk-hunting season, which began in 1984, is
divided into three or four hunt periods, depending on the number of
elk killed. In past years, the first hunt period has consisted of a
four-day hunt in late August and early September and a four-day
hunt in mid-September. The second hunt period has consisted of a
five-day hunt in mid-October. The third hunt period has been held
for nine days in mid-December, and an optional five-day hunt has
been available in January if the desired harvest goal has not been
According to the DNR memo, “In 2009 and 2010, an October hunt
period was utilized to provide additional elk harvest while elk are
still in agricultural areas, but during a distinct season to avoid
hunter crowding during the other hunt periods. This season had
considerably lower hunter success rates than either of the other
two hunt periods, and considering the lower harvest level now
required for meeting elk population management objectives, this
season is no longer needed to avoid hunter crowding. The
recommendation is to not utilize this hunt period during the 2011
For the 2011 season, the DNR is proposing that Hunt Period 1 run
Aug. 30-Sept. 2 and Sept 23-26; Hunt Period 2 would run Dec. 3-11;
and the optional Hunt Period 3 would be Jan. 12-16.
“It is recommended that the majority of licenses be issued during
the August/September period to take elk while they are outside of
the core range,” the DNR wrote.
The proposal calls for 90 elk licenses (30 any-elk licenses and 60
antlerless-only licenses) to be issued for Hunt Period 1 and 65
licenses (25 any-elk and 40 antlerless-only) for Hunt Period 2. The
recommended maximum quota for Hunt Period 3 would be 50, depending
on the harvest goal.
The NRC will meet April 7 at the Diagnostic Center for Population
and Animal Health in Lansing, south of the campus at Michigan State