MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will accept applications for the 2020 elk hunting tags March 1 – May 31. This fall marks the third elk hunt in state history.
Once widespread across North America, elk were eliminated from Wisconsin in the 1880s. Thanks to the support of many partners and the backing of Wisconsinites, the herd is back. Elk hunting season is open Oct. 17 – Nov. 15, 2020 and Dec. 10-18, 2020. Only Wisconsin residents are eligible to receive an elk tag.
“While we won’t know exact tag numbers until the Natural Resources Board approves the quota in April, we don’t see anything of concern regarding winter effects on the herd,” said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist. “The northern elk population peaked at about 280 last year, and with over 100 breeding age cows in the herd, we’re anticipating continued herd growth and are confident that a hunt will occur. How many tags that are offered will be determined this spring.”
The department is offering an earlier and longer application period to be consistent with other application dates and to be responsive to many hunters who missed last year’s opportunity due to a shorter, 30-day application period.
In 2019, a harvest quota of 10 bulls was established within the original Clam Lake elk range. Five once-in-a-lifetime bull elk tags were issued to state hunters along with an equal number allocated to the Ojibwa tribes following treaty rights. The full quota was filled, resulting in the total harvest of 10 bulls.
“It was known before the hunt started that there were a good number of older bulls in the herd, and several of those harvested were 8-10 years old,” Wallenfang said. “Some of the bigger bulls that we know about are still out