Wisconsin’s wild, free-ranging elk herds continue to grow and expand. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), growth rates are about 10 percent in the northern range and 15 percent in the central range. In total, there are approximately 400 elk with different population goals in each region.
“We are allowing the populations to grow. They may never reach the ultimate goal of 1,400 and 390 but at this point they are well shy of that,” Scott Roepke, DNR biologist, told wiscnews.com. “So we are just going to encourage herd growth and keep monitoring the populations as best we can to have a good handle on how many elk are actually out there.”
The DNR instituted a highly regulated elk hunt in 2018 with limited tags, but only in the northern range. That effort raised significant funding the DNR placed back on the ground directly for elk management.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation provided significant funding and volunteer manpower to assist with multiple restoration efforts dating back to 1995. Since 199, RMEF and its partners completed 558 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Wisconsin with a combined value of more than $11 million. These projects protected or enhanced 8,332 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 2,000 acres.
(Photo source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)