Below is a news release from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Following a three-month application period, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources randomly drew four lucky Wisconsin residents who will have the opportunity to participate in the 2020 elk hunting season.
The fifth elk hunting license will be awarded through a raffle conducted by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Raffle tickets may be purchased on the RMEF website, and the winner will be drawn at their state banquet in Wausau on July 25.
Just shy of 28,000 Wisconsin residents entered the drawing for one of four once-in-a-lifetime elk tags. The winners are from the cities of Appleton, Junction City, Marengo and McFarland.
“One of the more enjoyable tasks I have all year is calling the elk tag winners,” said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist. “They are always super excited and usually say something like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’ This year it just so happened to be one winner’s birthday, and it took a few minutes to convince him that I wasn’t one of his buddies playing a joke on him.”
In May, the Natural Resources Board approved a harvest quota of 10 bulls from the northern elk herd for the 2020 Wisconsin elk hunt, matching the number of tags from the 2019 season. Of the 10 tags, five will be awarded to state hunters, and the Ojibwe tribes will receive an allocation for the remaining five elk in accordance with their treaty rights within the Ceded Territory.
Application numbers increased by more than 4,000 compared to 2019. For each $10 application fee, $7 is earmarked for elk management, habitat and research in Wisconsin. Almost $11,000 in donations was also received thanks to the generous contributions of many applicants.
“Last year’s hunters collected some very nice bulls and great stories of the hunt, so we’re looking forward to continued success within the elk program that provides more hunting and elk viewing opportunities in the future,” said Wallenfang.
The 2020 elk hunting season will occur only in Wisconsin’s northern elk range in parts of Ashland, Bayfield, Price, Rusk and Sawyer counties, where the first restoration effort was initiated with 25 elk from Michigan in 1995. The northern elk herd is projected to be approximately 300 animals this year.
Although the state’s central elk herd is projected to be approaching 100 elk this summer after calving, hunting is not recommended to occur there in 2020.
RMEF provided funding and volunteer manpower to assist with the successful introduction of elk onto their historic Wisconsin range in 1995 and subsequent efforts since then.
(Photo source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)