Wisconsin Elk Study Special Report, August 23, 1998

Northern Wisconsin Elk Herd

14 Calves Born to Clam Lake Elk Herd

An effort to re-establish an elk herd, once native to Wisconsin, is meeting with success, researchers said recently.

The 25 elk released in the Chequamegon National Forest in 1995 produced at least 14 calves this spring, putting the population at a minimum of 45 animals, project coordinator Ray Anderson said.

“It is excellent,” Anderson said. “The last two years, we had good production and very minor and very acceptable mortality of the calf crop.”

The herd may be larger than 45 elk because seven cows are unaccounted for and they may also have calves, he said.

“We may not get to check on four of those because we donĂ¢t have (radio) transmitters on them. The other three are still transmitting,” Anderson said.

Although he can’t verify it, Anderson believes there are t least 49 elk in he herd.

“At this rate of productivity and survivorship, we could have about 500 elk in 11 years,” he said.

The researcher, a retired University of Wisconsin Stevens Point professor, said at least one of the 14 verified calves born this spring was killed by a female black bear and an other may have died of unknown causes.

Researchers were able to catch and collar eight of the new calves with transmitters so their whereabouts can be monitored daily, he said.

The original elk herd, obtained from Michigan was released near Clam Lake in May 1995 as part of a study to determine whether a permanent herd should be established in Wisconsin.

[Image: Courtesy of Flickr user Wordyeti]

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About the Author

Naomi K.Shapiro is an active member of Outdoor Writers Association of America and Wisconsin Outdoor Communicators. She lived for 15 years in Clam Lake, WI (permanent population of 140 not counting deer, bear and elk!) and writes regularly on issues involving business, the outdoors and tourism.

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