The Michigan DNR has chosen retired police officer Gary Cole of Dearborn and his acrylic painting of Michigan elk as the winner of its 100th anniversary of elk poster contest.
Cole’s painting depicts a wintry landscape mimicking Wolverine, Michigan, where the state’s original seven elk were released in 1918.
Cole, a self-taught wildlife artist who has hunted elk in the western U.S., currently hunts deer in the Upper Peninsula. The winning artwork will be showcased in the poster celebrating the 100th anniversary of elk poster and distributed to elk enthusiasts across Michigan and beyond.
As the winner, Cole will receive a one-night stay at Treetops Resort in Gaylord, a $100 gift card to Jay’s Sporting Goods and a guided elk-viewing trip with DNR staff. All who participated in the contest will receive a 100th elk anniversary 2018 calendar developed by the Montmorency County Conservation Club. The calendar is available to purchase by visiting the Montmorency County Conservation Club Facebook page or calling 989-785-4380.
Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of Michigan’s elk population. In 1918, seven elk were brought from the western United States to locations near Wolverine. Today’s healthy and abundant elk population is a result of intentional land management and increased law enforcement. Learn more about Michigan’s elk conservation story at michigan.gov/elk. Michigan residents can celebrate the 100th anniversary of elk – look for the DNR elk license plate, available starting Dec. 1.