Wisconsin wildlife officials are ready to put their elk comeback plan into action.
Gov. Scott Walker and the state Department of Natural Resources say they reached a deal with Kentucky wildlife officials earlier this week that allows Wisconsin DNR to capture 150 Kentucky elk over the next five years and import them to Wisconsin once they're certified as healthy.
Wisconsin has only one elk herd, a group of about 160 animals near Clam Lake. The new animals will be used to bolster that herd and start another herd in Jackson County.
The first round of trapping is set to begin this month. Wisconsin DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang says the goal is to capture 50 elk by early February and introduce them to the wild in Wisconsin by June.
In a release from the Governor's office, Al Jacobson, a Wisconsin Conservation Congress delegate and Jackson County Wildlife Fund board member who has been hoping to see elk in their county for over a decade, said, “The value of great partners cannot be overstated. Thanks to the combined efforts of several partners, the dream of a generation will finally be fulfilled for the people of Jackson County.”
The release said that the new elk will eventually provide recreational and economic benefits to those areas through wildlife viewing and hunting opportunities.
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