Clam Lake Herd Updates & NEWS - click here!
Clam Lake Elk Herd : Elk were reintroduced to the wild in Wisconsin in 1995, through a partnership between the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Today, more and more visitors come to the Clam Lake area seeking a glimpse of an elk or for the opportunity of hearing the wild bugle of a bull in the fall.
"A Herd in the Balance" by Kathryn A Kahler
December 2010: "The future of Wisconsin's elk herd rests with its ability to withstand threats like increased predation and continued vehicle collisions. Managers hope to help tip the scales in the elks' favor...." To read the rest of the article please CLICK HERE.
Please take care and take heed of elk crossing signs and flashing lights posted on area roads marking some common locations of members of the Clam Lake elk herd. Please drive safely in elk crossing zones.
History : Elk (Cervus elaphus), Wisconsin's largest native mammal, once ranged over most of North America and throughout Wisconsin. They were extirpated in the mid to late 1800's with the onset of human settlement due to over hunting and a rapid decline in habitat. Elk were last recorded in Wisconsin in the 1886 and historic records show elk once inhabited at least 50 of the state's 72 counties. An attempt at bringing elk back to the state in the 1930's failed because of poaching and the last four elk were reportedly killed in 1948. Although, elk primarily inhabited the prairie/savannah lands of the southern portion of the state, today, most of the currently suitable elk habitat is in the north. This change is due to the large scale conversion of land in the south from prairie to agriculture.
|Kiosk Available with Elk Info at Clam Lake's Downtown Park
In 1989 the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) was directed by the State Legislature to explore the likelihood of successfully reintroducing elk, moose, and caribou. The resulting publication "Feasibility Assessment for the Reintroduction of North American Elk, Moose, and Caribou into Wisconsin" (Parker 1990) determined that an elk reintroduction effort could succeed, while reintroductions of moose or caribou likely would not.
In 1993 the Wisconsin State Legislature authorized the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UW-SP) to evaluate the potential for reintroducing elk to the Great Divide District (GDD) of the Chequamegon National Forest (CNF) near Clam Lake. During February 1995, 25 elk were trapped, held in a quarantine facility for 90 days while undergoing rigorous disease testing, and shipped to the Clam Lake release site. After being held in a pen for a 2-week acclimation period, the elk were released into the CNF on 17 May, 1995.
Management responsibility of the herd was transferred from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in May 1999.
As of July 20, 2011, the size of the elk herd is estimated to be approximately 170 animals. It is estimated that "green up" occurred as of May 15th marking the beginning of the 2011 calving season. "Green up" is when new grass in the ditches comprises 75 percent of the cover and 50 percent of the aspens are leafed out. With the help of 179 citizen volunteers who donated their time and travel to come help with the calf search (some from as far away as Racine, Wisconsin, 22 calves were found.
For More Information about the Clam Lake, Wisconsin Elk Herd & Elk Reintroduction Efforts, please Visit the Following Sites:
Wisconsin DNR Clam Lake Herd Updates:
Clam Lake Elk Herd Range & Driving Routes:
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation National Site:
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Wisconsin Web Page:
Wisconsin DNR Elk Photo Gallery