No elk hunt for Wisconsin this year
By: By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Hunters will have to wait at least another year before they can put a northern Wisconsin elk in their sights.
Department of Natural Resources big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang said there will be about 175 elk in the Clam Lake area after calving season this summer; that’s short of the 200 needed before a hunt can begin.
“It’s something that people have been waiting for for a long time. People are kind of looking at that as a gauge of success, as to how successful the program has been,” Wallenfang said.
The DNR says the announcement that the first elk hunting season won’t happen this year has nothing to do with the ceremonial taking of an elk by Ojibwe members last fall. DNR lands administrator Kurt Thiede said it has everything to do with the size of the elk herd. It isn’t big enough yet.
Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Sue Erickson said the decision not to have a hunt is in keeping with the herd guidelines. She said the tribes have not made a decision whether to hold another ceremonial elk hunt this fall.
Wallenfang said the DNR still hopes to bring in 275 elk, probably from Kentucky, for Clam Lake and to start a new herd in the Black River Falls State Forest.
“Our Clam Lake population is going to continue to grow, whether we get new animals in there or not, but we sure would like to give that population a boost and bring in some new genetics and that kind of thing,” Wallenfang said.
The elk were re-introduced to Wisconsin in 1995 when 25 were brought in from Michigan.