The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds hunters that the application period for the 2022 elk hunt is open through May 31.
Following several successfully managed Wisconsin elk hunts, the DNR is planning the fifth elk hunt in state history this fall. Wisconsin's northern elk herd population, centered around Clam Lake, rose to 330 animals in 2021. The DNR anticipates growth in the herd again this year.
Once widespread across North America, elk were eliminated from Wisconsin in the 1880s. Thanks to the support of many partners and the backing of Wisconsinites, the herd is back. Elk hunting season is open from Oct. 15-Nov. 13 and Dec. 8-16, 2022. Successful applicants can hunt during either period. Only Wisconsin residents are eligible to receive an elk tag.
“Thanks to collaborative reintroduction efforts, Wisconsin’s expanding elk population has grown. The state has had an annual hunt every year since 2018,” said Josh Spiegel, the DNR’s Wildlife Biologist in Sawyer County. “We anticipate growth in the herd again this year and are thrilled to offer this hunting experience.”
Wisconsinites can purchase their elk license applications online through Go Wild or in-person by visiting a license agent. The application fee is $10 each and are limited to one per person. The hunt is open to Wisconsin residents only.
The cost of an elk hunting license for the winners of the license drawing is $49. Winners will be notified by early June. Wisconsin residents can only draw one elk tag once in their lifetime.
Again this year, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will raffle one authorization to buy a license on Aug. 13. Proceeds of the raffle benefit Wisconsin elk management and research. Raffle tickets are $10 each, and there is no limit on the number of raffle tickets an individual may purchase.
In 2021, four bull elk tags were issued to state hunters and an equal number allocated to the Ojibwe tribes in accordance with treaty rights.
Jim Schmidt of Chippewa Falls drew his elk tag last year. After many scouting trips in the northern elk zone, he filled his bull elk tag.
“I knew going into the 2021 Wisconsin elk hunt that this was going to be a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I was not disappointed,” Schmidt said. “The only regret I have is not having even more friends or family along on this adventure.”
Schmidt formed lasting friendships with other state hunters, comparing scouting and hunting experiences. After Schmidt filled his own elk tag, he traveled back to Clam Lake to lend a hand to another hunter still in pursuit of a Wisconsin bull elk.
“I am also extremely thankful for everyone that made this opportunity possible and highly encourage every hunter in Wisconsin to apply for this hunt,” Schmidt said. “As the saying goes, you can't win if you don't get in the game.”
Before obtaining an elk hunting license, all winners must participate in a Wisconsin elk hunter orientation. The class covers Wisconsin elk history, hunting regulations, elk biology and behavior, and scouting and hunting techniques.
The 2022 hunting season is expected to occur only within the northern elk management zone. While the state's central elk herd has grown steadily since reintroduction in 2015, it is not expected to be included in the 2022 hunt.
For each application, $7 goes directly to elk management and research in Wisconsin. These funds are used to enhance elk habitat, which benefits the elk herd and many other wildlife species that call the Northwoods home. Funding also contributes to ongoing elk research and monitoring.