The Department of Natural Resources and its partners working on restoring the elk population want to hear from you about this effort. Why now? Well, the state’s 12-year-old elk management plan is due for an update and a review by the Natural Resources Board. So, if you have something to say about it, now would be the time to speak up.
Wisconsin has elk? Yes, the state has a small but growing herd of about 180. You can find them living in the Clam Lake area of Ashland County. They are descendants of 25 elk captured from a single wild herd in Michigan and released in the Clam Lake area in 1995 as part of a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point project. Back then, the plans were to release more elk into the Black River State Forest in Jackson County. However, that was never done. DNR and project partners are proposing changes to the current plan that would accomplish several objectives.
“Our ongoing goal is to restore self-sustaining elk populations, adapted to the Wisconsin landscape, in these two locations,” DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang says. “Current plans call for bringing additional wild elk into the state and carrying out the plan of establishing a herd in Jackson County. The benefits of this effort will be greater diversity in our state’s wildlife community, increased genetic diversity of existing Wisconsin elk, additional hunting opportunities in the future and increased area tourism based on elk viewing opportunities.”
You can give your reaction to the state’s efforts to restore elk through an online survey at the DNR website. That survey went live today. You can find it at dnr.wi.gov, search keywords, “elk reintroduction.” The survey will be available the entire month of August. If you want to learn more about elk in Wisconsin, visit this page: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/reintroelk.html