The 2014 elk season in Michigan ended recently with successes in hunting and conservation.
During two hunt periods in Michigan, hunters filled their freezers with tasty elk meat, along with performing critical elk management.
"The elk hunt is an exciting time for everyone," said Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Jennifer Kleitch. "We control the elk population through very intense management. We target specific areas and properties during certain time periods."
The early elk season ran Aug. 26 to 29, and September 12 to 15 and Sept. 26 to 29. During the early season, hunters harvested 37 elk, including 13 bulls, 23 cows and one calf. The late season ran Dec. 6 to 14, and hunters got 41 elk, including 14 bulls and 27 cows.
Almost 30,000 Michigan hunters applied for the 100 available elk licenses.
"Again, we had a good season, hunters were successful and safe, and we achieved our management goals," Kleitch said. "Not to mention the communities in the area feel the influx of the hunters with their families and the additional activity, so it really is a great season for the region."
Besides population management, the successful elk hunt helped officials track the health of the elk herd. Each hunter must have his elk checked by DNR officials. Vital statistics are recorded, and the animal is checked for tuberculosis. Kleitch concluded:
Elk are very valuable animals to Michigan's residents, and it's important to ensure that every harvest was done in a legal manner. The harvest site visits allow us to get more information on the hunt and more information on the health of the animal.