Yes, there are elk in Michigan: just not this far South.
The Michigan DNR has confirmed that a young bull elk has been spotted roughly 100 miles South of its normal range. The Michigan DNR started receiving reports of an elk in Ogemaw County. The elk has made it as far south as Beal City in Isabella County. Most of the elk population is found in the Northeast Lower Peninsula in the Pigeon River Country State Forest.
There are privately owned elk and high -fenced operations in the Michigan as well. What makes this bull interesting is that it does appear to be completely wild. Private facilities are well regulated to prevent animals from escaping and from wild ones getting in. Michigan DNR elk specialist Chad Stewart has confirmed with these facilities that it is not an escapee.
“After contacting the facilities and reviewing photos, we are pretty confident this is a wild male that simply is out exploring Mid-Michigan,” said Stewart.
The elk will have no problem finding food this time of year, regardless of where it wanders. As I am in South West Michigan, he can feel free to wander over. However, the bull is expected to travel north and rejoin the rest of the herd. This can take a while, though, so the Michigan DNR would like any information on the elk’s whereabouts. You can make a report by calling 231-775-9727 ext 6032 or emailing [email protected].
The Michigan elk population is about 1,300 strong. Hunting has been regulated to properly manage the population and it has been effective. The hunting seasons are staggered and occur twice a year. The first season(s) are in 12 day intervals from August 30th through October 3rd. The second falls between December 10th and goes through the 18th. The hunts only occur in select areas of the state. You can learn more by going to mi.gov/elk