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7 of 8 Wisconsin elk hunters successful

The state is expected to offer another limited elk hunt this fall.

Wisconsin elk
Three of four elk hunters in Wisconsin's limited elk hunt in fall 2021 were successful at bagging a bull. The state is expected to hold a fifth-straight limited hunt in 2022.
Contributed / Wisconsin DNR

Three of the four hunters who drew state Department of Natural Resources tags to hunt elk in Wisconsin in the fall were successful in taking a bull elk, the DNR announced this week.

All four of the Ojibwe tribal hunters who secured elk tags also were successful.

It was the fourth-straight year a limited elk season has been held in the state. The state DNR season ended Dec. 17 and the tribal hunt ended Jan. 2.

Three of the four state-licensed hunters were randomly drawn from a pool of about 25,000 applicants for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to hunt elk. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation raffled the fourth state tag in a fundraiser to support elk management in Wisconsin. The foundation’s raffle winner was drawn from more than 1,800 applicants and is the second female hunter to harvest their first big game animal using a Wisconsin elk tag in the last two seasons.

Similar to the state's first three elk hunting seasons, Ojibwe tribal hunters also had the opportunity to harvest four elk in the Ceded Territory of Wisconsin, with the same number of permits the DNR issued.


The 2022 DNR elk hunt application period is expected to start March 1 and run through May 31. For each $10 application fee, $7 goes to elk management, habitat restoration and elk research in Wisconsin. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will hold its raffle in late summer 2022.

Elk were native to Wisconsin but were gone by the 1870s due to overhunting. But the state now has a growing elk population thanks to two restoration efforts that began in 1995 and concluded in 2019.

The Clam Lake Elk Range, about 70 miles southeast of Superior, covers 1,620 square miles and reaches into portions of Ashland, Bayfield, Price, Rusk and Sawyer counties — Wisconsin’s northern elk zone where the first restoration effort began in 1995 with 25 elk from Michigan and where the first four modern elk seasons have been held.

The band wants elk back in Fond du Lac State Forest, and has dropped plans for Cloquet Valley, Nemadji forests for now.

From 2017-2019, 91 elk from Kentucky were released to bolster the Clam Lake elk herd population, which has grown to an estimated 330 animals. Additionally, 73 elk were released in the 252-square-mile Black River Elk Range from 2015-2016, and the population today is estimated at 115 animals, bringing the statewide total population estimate to 445 elk.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources currently is forming its position on a proposal by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to reintroduce elk into eastern Minnesota, namely Carton and southern St. Louis counties.

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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