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Wisconsin elk permit applications open 

Apply now for once-in-a-lifetime northern Wisconsin elk hunt this fall.

Wisconsin elk
A bull elk bugles in this undated photo. Wisconsin residents can now apply for a limited number of elk hunting permits for this fall's elk hunt.
Contributed / Wisconsin DNR

MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the application period for the 2023 elk hunt is open now until May 31.

Once widespread across North America, elk were eliminated from Wisconsin in the 1880s. Thanks to the support of many partners and the backing of Wisconsinites, the herd is back in northern Wisconsin, centering around Clam Lake in southern Ashland County.

“Thanks to collaborative reintroduction efforts, Wisconsin’s expanding elk population has grown. The state has had an annual hunt every year since 2018,” said Josh Spiegel, the DNR Wildlife Biologist in Sawyer County. Another herd roams in the Jackson County area of central Wisconsin.

The 2023 hunting season will occur only within the northern elk management zone and is open from Oct. 14-Nov. 12 and Dec. 14-22. Successful applicants can hunt during either period. Only Wisconsin residents are eligible to receive an elk tag. Tribal hunters also are awarded a limited number of tags.

Wisconsinites can purchase their elk license applications at gowild.wi.gov or in person at license agents statewide. The application fee is $10 each and is limited to one per person. For each application, $7 goes directly to elk management, monitoring and research in Wisconsin. These funds are used to enhance elk habitat.


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If selected in the drawing, the cost of an elk hunting license is $49. Winners will be notified by early June. Wisconsin residents can only draw an elk tag once in their lifetime.

Before obtaining an elk hunting license, all winners must participate in a Wisconsin elk hunter orientation. The class covers Wisconsin elk history, hunting regulations, biology and behavior, and scouting and hunting techniques.

This year's elk quota will go to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board for approval in May. For more information on the elk hunt, visit dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/elkhunting.html .

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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