Elk NetworkReport: Wisconsin Elk Herd to Top 500 in 2023

General | May 31, 2023

A Department of Natural Resources report shows Wisconsin will have more than 500 elk within its borders once calves hit the ground this spring. Biologists maintain there will be about 355 elk in its northern herd in the Clam Lake area and 155 to 160 in the central herd in Jackson County’s Black River State Forest.

Wisconsin hunters have until May 31 to apply for a chance at a 2023 elk hunting license. This year’s elk hunting season will run from Saturday, Oct. 14 through Sunday, Nov. 12, as well as Thursday, Dec. 14 through Friday, Dec. 22. Successful applicants can hunt during either period.

The DNR will approve the 2023 elk quota at the end of May. Consistent with past years, licenses will only be issued for the Clam Lake Elk Range. A drawing will occur in early June, and successful applicants will be notified shortly after. The department recommends all applicants check and update their contact information to ensure contact with successful applicants.

Applications are $10 and are limited to one per person. The cost of an elk hunting license for the winners of the license drawing is $49. The application fees directly support the management and research that sustain Wisconsin’s elk herds, so all interested hunters are encouraged to apply.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation helped fund a feasibility study of restoring elk after a 110-year absence on their historic range and then supplied financial and volunteer support in assisting with the successful restoration in 1995, as well as later restoration efforts.

Since 1990, RMEF and its partners completed 611 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Wisconsin that conserved or enhanced 9,922 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 2,000 acres.

RMEF has 24 chapters and more than 11,500 members in Wisconsin.

(Photo credit:  Jim Kuchler/Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)