Author’s note: Deer Hunting Season has come and gone without any mishap to the elk at Clam Lake, Wisconsin, as far as we know. The following are excerpts from an article that appeared in The Ashland Daily Press, just prior to hunting season, December 1, 1997.
CLAM LAKE — ‘Always be sure of your target and beyond.’
UW-Stevens Point researchers hope hunters make doubly sure they follow this axiom near Clam Lake in Wisconsin’s Chequamegon National Forest.
Accidental shooting of an elk can bring a $2,000 fine and loss of hunting privileges for up to five years.
The state’s experimental herd has grown to more than 34 bulls, cows, and calves in the Clam Lake area according to Ray Anderson, leader of a four-year elk reintroduction study.
The elk are roaming pairs of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Deer Management Units 6, 7, 23, 14 and 28. Most are near Clam Lake with others in the southwest study area bounded by Round, Spider, Lost Land, Teal, Moose, and Chippewa Lakes, and west of Highway 13 north of Park Falls.
Bull calves born in 1996, now yearlings with spiked antlers, venture farther afield at times. ‘Hunters need to know that this year’s calves are about the size of a full-grown white-tailed doe,’ Anderson said.
Please report elk sightings to University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Elk Research, PO Box 429, Clam Lake, WI 54517; telephone (715) 794-2707 or (715) 794-2721.
Elk are easily distinguishable from white-tailed deer although an elk calf born earlier this year has grown to the size of an adult white-tailed doe. Adult elk are much larger than deer, standing 4-5 feet tall at the shoulder compared to 3-3 1/2 feet for deer. Elk have a short, inconspicuous tail while deer have the well-known long, white flag. Fur color is also distinct. The large, conspicuous tan rump patch and black legs and neck of elk differ greatly from the uniform color of deer. Deer antlers curve forward while most elk antlers sweep back.
Prior to the 9-day gun season, Forest Service employees posted bright yellow posters around the elk reintroduction study area. Descriptive literature showing the differences between deer and elk was also distributed to hunters and public places frequented by hunters in the Clam Lake area.
[Image: Courtesy of Flickr user alfromelkhorn]