Elk Season Was A Success

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is celebrating a successful elk hunting season. The state’s fifth elk hunting season opened Saturday, Oct. 15 and closed Wednesday, Oct. 19 as a result of all four state licensed hunters filling their harvest authorizations.

Three hunters were fortunate to harvest a bull elk in the first two days of the season and the fourth tag was filled by day five.

“All four hunters did their homework,” says Josh Spiegel, DNR Wildlife Biologist. “The hunters’ drive to succeed was very impressive. Selected hunters made several scouting trips prior to the season opening, and their efforts translated to a successful hunt and a memorable season.”

Notably, this year’s hunt marked the first modern harvest of an elk using a bow, another milestone for Wisconsin conservationists. It takes tremendous effort and practice to complete a harvest with a bow.

As with previous elk hunting seasons, Ojibwe tribal hunters also have the opportunity to harvest elk in the Ceded Territory of Wisconsin this season. The tribal season closes Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. For inquiries regarding the tribes’ 2022 elk hunt, please contact Travis Bartnick, Wildlife Biologist, at the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission by email at tbartnick@glifwc.org.

Wisconsin’s annual elk hunt takes place in the Clam Lake Elk Range, home of Wisconsin’s longest tenured elk population since reintroduction efforts started in 1995. In 2022, the estimated population of the Clam Lake elk herd is 336 elk. Bulls have been harvested across this range each year since the hunt started in 2018.

Elk were also reintroduced in Jackson County starting in 2015 to form the Black River Falls herd. The Black River Falls herd reached 130 individuals in 2022, bringing the statewide total to approximately 466 elk.

The DNR drew three hunters at random from a pool of about 25,400 Wisconsin resident applicants. The fourth hunter was selected by the Wisconsin Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation through a raffle drawing with over 1,600 entries. This year was the foundation’s fifth and final year of holding a separate drawing.

The 2023 elk hunt application period is expected to open March 1 and run through May 31, 2023. Find more information and subscribe for elk translocation updates: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/elk