October 31, 2014

DNR plans elk expansion

More elk may be headed to Wisconsin. The Department of Natural Resources has been considering increasing the size of the current Clam Lake elk herd – and establishing a second herd in the Black River State Forest. The DNR’s Kevin Wallenfang explained that was part of the original plan when elk were reintroduced to the state from Michigan back in 1995. “All pieces are now kind of falling into place,” he said. “We have a very willing donor state to provide the elk. And there’s still a lot of support in the Black River Falls area, so we are gearing up and hopefully we are going to move ahead with it.”

This time around, the elk would come from Kentucky, which now has several thousand animals after reintroducing them from Kansas in 1997. “Our plan at the moment is to bring in a minimum of 75 animals, and then in addition to that we would like to bring in another 200 animals to supplement the Clam Lake herd.”

With that in mind, the DNR has scheduled a series of public meetings next month, to explain those plans. The meetings are October 1st in Hayward, October 2nd in Phillips, October 3rd in Ladysmith, October 4th in Black River Falls and October 8th in Pewaukee.

There will also need to be legislation passed to enable the expansion. Wallenfang says if all the pieces fall into place, the new elk could be in the state as soon as 2014.