Wisconsin Elk Management Plan Filed As NRB Sets Fall Hunting Quota

Wisconsin has regularly replenished its elk population.

The Northern Elk Herd, formerly known as the Clam Lake Herd, spans Ashland, Bayfield, Price, Sawyer and Rusk counties.

The Central Elk Herd, formerly known as the Black River Elk Herd, is found in the woodland region of Jackson County.

Together, the Wisconsin elk population approaches 400 animals.

the draft elk management plan calls for a long-term population size target of approximately 1,400 elk in the northern elk herd area and approximately 300 in the central elk herd area.

The growth of the central elk herd is of most concern, especially for cranberry growers in the region.

With around 100 elk in this area right now, farmers and producers are already facing many conflicts.

Jim Bible owns a cranberry swamp in Black River Falls. He told members of the Natural Resources Council on Wednesday that the moose caused damage to the plants and ate his cranberries.

And even if he gets the damages reimbursed from the MRN, he says it is wreaking havoc.

“The problem for me is mental stress. We devote a lot of time and energy to these cranberry swamps. It is the work of our life. In the fall of 2019, in fact, we had to patrol our swamp every hour from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. to keep them away.

Bible, along with several other producers and farmers who spoke at the last NRB meeting, are concerned that if the elk population increases further they will continue to face these conflicts as the MNR has to continue to pay. for damage or mitigation tactics. like putting fences.

NRB members agreed that these concerns were valid. A few members asked MNR staff what the options were for dealing with these conflicts and how they were dealt with in the plan.

MNR Secretary Preston Cole recommended that council resubmit the elk management plan to give staff time to develop guidelines on the level of damage and conflict on which MNR should base its decisions. actions.

“I think we hear you loud and clear about the effectiveness of actions to control damage and the cost of damage, but I need a tipping point to guide our decision making and you need to ‘a tipping point as to whether these measures or they are not,’ said Cole.

Council voted to table the elk management plan another month to give MNR staff time to develop these parameters.

The NRB has approved a quota for the fall elk hunt.

This is the first time since the start of the hunt in 2018 that the quota will be reduced.

Over the past three years, the Natural Resources Board has set the bull quota at 10.

The MNR and the Moose Advisory Committee are recommending eight this year, which council has approved.

MNR wildlife biologist Scott Roepke said the population as a whole is still increasing by about 10% each year.

“From 2019 into 2020, we started to see slower growth in the bull segment of the herd compared to the cow segment of the herd. We believe the harvest is having an impact on that bullish growth, ”Roepke said.

Of the approved elk quota, four will go hunting Ojibwe tribes, three will be selected for the state permit lottery, and one will be drawn by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

May 31 is the last day for request a tag. The moose hunt begins on October 16.

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