RMEF volunteers across the nation aided state wildlife agencies in capturing calves for research. All calves were returned safely and some with new jewelry.
In Wisconsin during the first weekend of June, Joshua Spiegel DNR Wildlife Biologist in Sawyer County lead 12 volunteers through the thick brush of the north country. However, they wouldn’t have to walk far.
“We walked probably 50 yards, and somebody spotted a calf,” chuckles N. Wisconsin RD Kurt Flack. “It was about as easy as it gets.”
Because of the quick search, volunteers were able to spend the rest of their day enjoying Wisconsin’s “Free state park day” at the numerous park close to Wisconsin elk country.
That same weekend, in Pennsylvania, the searching was a little tougher. While the 35 RMEF volunteers were able to enjoy giant Keystone State bulls in velvet, the calves were much shier. “We’ve caught 15 elk calves in eight years,” says senior regional director Dave Ragantesi. “It was the right time of year, the right habitat, but that’s what happens when you’re working with wild animals.”
Pennsylvania Elk Biologist Jeremy Banfield lead the string of volunteers through multiple fields throughout the morning, but the group only turned up fresh beds and multiple whitetail fawns.
“Our capture average took a hit, but we know they’re out there,” says Banfield. “Our herd is growing. The calves were just a little better at hiding today.”
Contact your RD to see if there is an elk calf capture near you next spring!