(Courtesy WisDNR)

DNR opens 2024 elk hunt application period begins; Black River Elk Range open for first time

Metro Wire Staff

The application period for the 2024 Wisconsin elk hunt is now open and will run through May 31.

This year, hunters have a new opportunity as the Black River Elk Range will be open to hunting for the first time since elk were reintroduced to the state.

Elk were once widespread in Wisconsin but were eliminated from the state in the 1880s due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss. Reintroduction efforts began in 1995 with the release of 25 elk into the Clam Lake Elk Range.

A second herd was established in the Black River Elk Range in 2015. The state elk population is expected to exceed 500 animals after this year’s calving season, with 180 belonging to the Black River Herd.

Applicants are required to select between the Black River Elk Range or Clam Lake Elk Range when applying for the hunt.

Wisconsin residents can purchase an elk license application online through the the Go Wild license portal or in person at a license sales agent. The application fee is $10 and is limited to one per person. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recommends that all applicants check and update their contact information to ensure successful contact.

Of the application fee, $7 goes directly to elk management, monitoring, and research, as well as to enhance elk habitat, benefiting elk and other wildlife.

If selected in the drawing, an elk hunting license costs $49. Winners will be notified by early June. Wisconsin residents can only draw an elk tag once in their lifetime.

Before obtaining an elk hunting license, all winners must participate in a Wisconsin elk hunter education course. The course covers Wisconsin elk history, hunting regulations, biology, behavior, and scouting/hunting techniques.

This year’s elk quotas for the Black River and Clam Lake Elk Ranges will be presented to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board as an informational item later this spring.

For more information on the elk hunt, visit the DNR Elk Hunting webpage.