DNR board to vote on tighter elk harvest limits


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Hunters would be allowed to kill only six bull elk in 2020 under a proposal the state Department of Natural Resources board is set to consider next week.

The DNR has been working to repopulate the state with elk for years. The department has established two herds, one in northern Wisconsin and another in central Wisconsin.

The northern herd is much larger than the central herd, and it’s projected to grow to 300 animals this year. The central herd is expected to grow to about 100 animals.

The agency has run an elk hunting season in northern Wisconsin for the past two years as that herd has grown. Last year, hunters were allowed to kill up to 10 bulls. State hunters were allowed to take five and Chippewa tribal hunters were allowed to take five, according to treaty rights. The DNR has received more than 16,000 applications for a 2020 elk permit. The department selects permit winners through a lottery.

DNR Big Game Ecologist Kevin Wallenfang wrote in a memo to the board that the harvest should be limited this year to six bulls. State hunters would be allowed to kill three and Chippewa hunters would be allowed to take three.

Wallenfang wrote that fewer mature bulls in the herd could hurt breeding and stunt interest in hunting and recreational viewing.

The board is scheduled to vote on the new limits during a meeting Wednesday in Madison.