Wisconsin Elk

Elk (Cervus elaphus) once lived and thrived all over most of North America and throughout Wisconsin. As humans moved west, the elk population suffered dire consequences from over hunting and deterioration of their natural habitat. By the mid to late 1800's there were almost none left.


Historic records show elk once inhabited at least 50 of Wisconsin's 72 counties. In the 1930's, the state attempted to bring elk back but failed because of poachers; the remaining four elk were reportedly killed in 1948.


In 1993, the Wisconsin State Legislature authorized the reintroduction of elk to the Great Divide District (GDD) of the Chequamegon National Forest near Clam Lake. In 1995, 25 elk were captured in Michigan, quarantined and then released in Clam Lake. Since then, the population has grown to about 80-90 elk and because of this success, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is continuing to re-introduce elk in small, localized herds.


Below, you can read first-hand accounts from Clam Lake residents and other northern Wisconsin visitors as they continue to see these magnificent mammals.




Celebrate Wisconsin Elk!

Celebrate Wisconsin Elk Bugle Days 2012 Invite

If you have ever thought you would like to come to Clam Lake, Wisconsin to try and glimpse some of your Wisconsin elk herd, but didn’t know where to start, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation invites you to the perfect introductory event:  WI RMEF Bugle Days Rendezvous on September 7, 8, 9 in Clam Lake, WI. The weekend will be totally “elk-centric” starting Friday evening (September 7th) at our Rendezvous headquarters, the Day Lake Picnic area just north of Clam Lake (follow the signs!). … [Read more...]

Clam Lake Elk Herd Expected to Increase by 20 Percent

Elk Herd

Wisconsin's elk herd in the Clam Lake area is expected to grow by 20 percent this year, based on state wildlife biologists' observations of new calves born in recent weeks. Biologists with the Department of Natural Resources and University of Wisconsin Stevens Point wildlife researchers monitoring Wisconsin's growing elk herd in the Clam Lake area report that the 24 elk they were watching over the spring produced 11 new calves. "Based on our experience, we estimate that a total of around … [Read more...]

Wisconsin Elk Herd Comes Through Winter in Fine Condition

Wisconsin Elk Herd

This report from Wisconsin DNR and Glidden Enterprise. Wisconsin’s elk herd came through the winter in excellent condition, according to Wisconsin's wildlife officials who estimate the state herd to now be between 85 and 90 animals. Laine Stowell, a wildlife biologist and elk specialist for the state Department of Natural Resources, said that all the state’s elk appear to have survived the winter. He added, that because the weather was mild -- causing little or no stress on the elk -- … [Read more...]

Clam Lake Elk Herd Could Grow to 115 This Year

Northern Wisconsin Elk Herd

The Clam Lake area elk herd is likely to reach at least 100 animals and possibly 115 following this year's calving season, a Department of Natural Resources biologist told members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) last Saturday in Hayward. "We are expecting 30 to 35 calves to be born" in late spring and early summer, said Laine Stowell. The projected population is nearly a five-fold increase over the 25 elk brought in from Michigan in 1995 as an experiment, with the goal of … [Read more...]

Conservation Wardens Investigate Cow Elk Shooting

Cow Elk

Spooner, Wisconsin - Conservation Wardens are investigating the shooting of a cow elk on the Chequamegon National Forest 12 miles west of Clam Lake on Saturday. The person who shot the animal turned himself in to the Department of Natural Resources claiming he mistook the animal for a large deer. The elk was shot at about 50 yards with a 12 gauge shot gun and wildlife officials estimated the animal's weight to be about 350 pounds. State Big Game Specialist Bill Mytton said it is unfortunate … [Read more...]

Wisconsin’s Elk Now a New State Wildlife Species

Northern Wisconsin Elk

Clam Lake, Wisconsin. After five years of research, the Wisconsin Elk Reintroduction Study has culminated in approval of the management plan and environmental assessment for the Clam Lake Elk Herd by the Wisconsin Natural Resource Board. Wisconsin’s elk are now an official state wildlife species and will be allowed to repopulate naturally. Approval of the management plan also establishes protocol for other elk reintroductions in the state, which would use the Clam Lake plan as a model to … [Read more...]

Elk Report as of January, 2000

Northern Wisconsin Elk

This report from Glidden Enterprise. The Clam Lake elk herd experienced another good year in 1999. The winter of 1998-1999 was very mild, and survival of both adults and calves was good. The herd was estimated at 45-47 elk going into the calving season. At least 16 calves were born, 11 of which were captured and radio-collared within their first few days of life to allow monitoring of survival. To date, 10 of the 11 are still alive. The summer also went smoothly, with no unusual events … [Read more...]

Elk Report as of December 1, 1999

Northern Wisconsin Elk

The experimental wild elk in the Clam lake area continue to be monitored for their well- being this fall and winter as the Department of Natural Resource prepares a plan for maintaining them on the area’s public forest permanently. Sam Moore, DNR wildlife biologist who is in charge of the Clam Lake elk project, said that those elk who were outfitted with radio transmitters are checked a few times per week. Their movements are also noted. “So far, every indication we have is that their … [Read more...]

Elk Study Interim Progress Report-Calving

Northern Wisconsin Elk Calf

Four years of field data collection on the Wisconsin experimental elk herd was completed on 17 May 1999 but it was decided to determine elk productivity and monitor calf survivorship during the 1999 calving season to bolster the annual increment data base. Between 21 and 25 calves are destined to be born this year, depending upon the unknown pregnancy rate of yearling cows. A goal of radio-tagging 10 calves was established by the elk research team in consultation with the Wisconsin Elk Project … [Read more...]

Canine Predation Takes Two Elk in April

Northern Wisconsin Elk

Elk Study Interim Progress Report - 30 April 1999 Two instances of canine predation of elk occurred within the past week on the study area. Evidence at the scenes of the kills indicated that the predator, in both instances, were wolves. Elk No. 47, an 11-month-old female, was killed on 25 April 1999 between the Torch River and FS Rd 176. Elk No. 44, an 11-month-old male, was killed approximately 0.5 mile from the No. 47 kill-site on 27 April 1999. This calf of 1998 was born of Cow No. 26, … [Read more...]