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DNR Announces 2023 Elk Hunt Application Winners

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that four Wisconsin residents won a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hunt elk during the 2023 elk season, which opens Saturday, Oct. 14.

The DNR randomly selected these hunters from more than 21,300 applicants. This drawing is random, with all applicants having an equal chance to be selected. All four hunters have been contacted by the DNR and are from Cedarburg, Green Bay, Sparta and Mount Horeb.

“The winners are excited to pursue elk right here in their home state and create memories with family and friends – something they will hold onto for the remainder of their lives,” said Josh Spiegel, DNR Wildlife Biologist. “We wish them the best of luck.”

In May, the DNR presented the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board the eight-bull harvest quota within the northern elk management zone, the same quota that was approved for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Of the eight-bull quota, the DNR awarded four licenses to state hunters. The Ojibwe tribes have declared the remaining four elk, per their treaty rights within the Ceded Territory.

The 2023 elk hunting season will take place only in Wisconsin’s northern elk zone, which covers portions of Ashland, Bayfield, Price, Rusk and Sawyer counties. This area includes the 1995 reintroduction effort, which began with 25 elk from Michigan. The northern elk herd population is projected to reach 355 animals this year. The central elk herd is estimated near 155 elk this year, bringing the statewide post-calving population above 500 elk. 

The DNR thanks everyone who applied for this year’s elk permits. Those applications contribute directly to the future of the state’s elk population. For each $10 application fee, $7 goes to elk management, habitat restoration and research. In 2023, some applicants chose to give amounts above the $10 fee, and their additional donations totaled more than $8,000.

For more information on the elk hunt, visit the DNR’s elk hunting webpage. Additional information about Wisconsin’s elk can also be found on the elk in Wisconsin and elk reintroduction webpages.

Sign up for updates on current translocation efforts by joining the “Elk in Wisconsin” and “Wildlife Projects” email distribution lists.

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