DNR Announces First State Elk Hunt In Northern Wisconsin This Fall

After 20-Year Reintroduction To Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Herd Has Grown To Nearly 200 Animals

Laine Stowell/Wisconsin DNR

After a 20-year reintroduction effort in northern Wisconsin, the state Department of Natural Resources will hold the state’s first ever elk hunt near Clam Lake this fall.

Elk were first reintroduced in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in 1995 when 25 animals were brought in from Michigan. DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang said the plan was to grow the herd and initiate an elk hunt once the Clam Lake herd reached 200 animals.

“We currently have about 190 elk in the area but when you start adding all the calves to that that should be born this summer, we anticipate we’re going to be over that 200 level by a comfortable margin,” said Wallenfang. “So, we’re going to finally initiate a hunt.”

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The elk hunt season is scheduled to run from Oct. 13 through Nov. 11. Applying for a permit will cost $10 and hunters can begin applying May 1. If a hunter is awarded a permit the fee will be $49. Wallenfang said this inaugural hunt will be extremely limited.

“There’ll be a grand total of only 10 permits available out there but state hunters are going to have an opportunity to apply for those,” Wallenfang said. “The odds might seem tough to draw that tag but somebody is going to draw them and it’s going to be exciting.”

The area the DNR will open for elk hunting is within the Clam Lake elk range of Sawyer, Bayfield, Ashland and Price counties in far north-central Wisconsin.

Elk are also being reintroduced in Jackson County farther south, but Wallenfang said there are no plans for a hunt there anytime soon.