For many years elk hunting was only done in the western United States. However, with elk populations reaching healthy levels in several midwest and eastern states, elk hunting is becoming a nationwide event. Wisconsin is no different as hunters are now able to hunt elk in the state.
Wisconsin’s elk application period is now open. The Wisconsin elk season offers hunters a chance to take an elk in their home state. Likewise, the elk hunters get a unique experience, harvesting an elk in an area that until recently was void of elk for over 100 years.
Elk were overhunted in much of the eastern United States. It was no different in Wisconsin when the last wild elk disappeared around 1880. In 1995, 25 elk were reintroduced into the Clam Lake area. Then in 2015 and 2016, 73 elk were relocated from Kentucky to Wisconsin. Then in the following years, another 79 elk were moved into Wisconsin, once again from Kentucky.
Elk Hunting in Wisconsin
The elk application period will run until May 31st. Willing applicants can apply via Go Wild (gowild.wi.gov) or by stopping by a licensing agent. The application fee is $10. Only Wisconsin residents are eligible to apply, sorry nonresidents. Applicants that draw out will be notified in early June. Before being issued their licenses all draw winners must take part in the Wisconsin elk hunter education program in September. This class will cover elk hunting regulations as well as elk hunting tactics. The season typically runs from Oct. 17 to Nov. 15, 2021, and Dec. 10-18, 2021
“We want hunters to have a great experience and be successful. With approximately 70% of the elk range on public land and open to hunting, finding a place to hunt will not be a problem for elk hunters. Despite the relative remoteness of the area, there are informational centers, campgrounds, and hotels. Everything you need is within easy reach.” – Josh Spiegel, Wisconsin DNR Wildlife Biologist
This is only the 4th elk season to take place in Wisconsin in modern times. The 2021 season is expected to take place only in the northern hunt zone. The elk herd in the central zone still needs time to grow more before sustainable hunting can take place. During the first three years, the elk hunt has generated over $600,000 dollars. This money goes directly into improving the habitat in the Northwoods. These habitat improvements not only help the elk but all the wildlife that call the area home.