kentucky elk to wisconsin

Last Round of Elk Delivered to Wisconsin, Likely the Last Inter-State Relocation

This was the last shipment in a five-year agreement between Kentucky and Wisconsin.

Earlier this month, a group of trailers unloaded 48 wild elk from Kentucky into a 7-acre quarantine pen in Wisconsin's Flambeau River State Forest near Winter.

This last shipment of elk, which are scheduled to be released into the wild in about two months, are probably the last to be transported from state to state. The spread of diseases like chronic wasting disease, among others, has greatly limited wildlife agencies' ability to move cervids across state borders.

"This marks the final chapter of our translocation efforts," Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole stated. "It's been a tremendous project that relied on many great partners and we're all looking forward to seeing what the future brings for Wisconsin elk and the people who enjoy them."

The original agreement was for the relocation of 150 Kentucky elk to Wisconsin over the course of five years. A lot has changed over that span, however, including even the method in which wildlife officials capture elk. Originally, they used traps, whereas the most recent shipment was captured with a helicopter and a net gun.

Wisconsin had its first elk hunting season last year for 10 bull elk in the Clam Lake herd. There were five state-issued tags and five tribal tags, although only nine were harvested.

The state received roughly 38,000 applications at $10 apiece. Additionally, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation raffled off one of the state tags, which sold 5,000 tickets and raised roughly $50,000.

Collectively, the hunt raised more than $400,000 for elk management.

"We're excited to have worked with the DNR to bring more elk to Wisconsin," RMEF Regional Director Kurt Flack told the Journal Sentinel. "We're also excited for the future of the state's elk management program."

Similar to 2018, the 2019 elk hunt will also be restricted to the Clam Lake area.