(AP) Wisconsin wildlife officials are set to approve hearings on new rules establishing the state’s second elk herd.
The state’s lone elk herd currently roams the Clam Lake area. The Department of Natural Resources wants to establish a second herd near Black River Falls.
DNR officials want to use elk from Kentucky to establish the new herd as well as expand the Clam Lake herd. They hope to import the first 50 animals in 2015.
The agency has drafted regulations that would establish a new management zone for the new herd with a population goal of 390 animals. The regulations also would set the opening day for an elk season on Oct. 15.
The DNR’s board is expected to authorize public hearings on the regulations at a meeting Wednesday in Baraboo.
The proposal is part of the DNRs overall elk management plan to increase Wisconsin’s elk herd and diversify the genetic makeup of the herd. Kentucky’s reintroduction of elk began about the same time as Wisconsin’s but has been far more successful. From 1997 to 2002, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife released a total of 1,556 elk that originated from Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, and Utah. By 2009 the Kentucky herd reached an estimated 10,000 animals and the herd is now spilling over into neighboring states.
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