Office of the Governor Scott Walker
Office of the Governor, Scott Walker - Press Release

Governor Scott Walker Announces Arrival of 39 Elk in Jackson County

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - Press Release

Madison – Today, Governor Scott Walker announced 39 elk from Kentucky arrived at their new home near Black River Falls.  This is the second year of a five-year elk reintroduction program being conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“This is an exciting and important step in our continued efforts to integrate elk onto the landscape in and around Jackson County,” Governor Scott Walker said.  “We anticipate that this project will lead to a thriving elk herd in the area, which will have a positive impact on tourism and the local economy.”

Once released into the wild, these elk will join last year’s inaugural herd that was introduced into Jackson County.  This five-year agreement between Wisconsin and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife hopes to provide Wisconsin with up to 150 wild elk.  In the final three years of the program, elk are expected to be released within the northern Wisconsin elk range near Clam Lake, where elk have been on the landscape since 1995.

“We are very excited to be adding more elk to the Jackson County herd,” DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said.  “This is yet another milestone that we could not have reached without the backing of a variety of important partners.  We’d like to thank them all for their support.”

The Jackson County phase of the Wisconsin elk reintroduction project was funded by the Ho Chunk Nation, Jackson County Wildlife Fund, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and several local businesses and additional donors.

The DNR is taking special precautions to make sure the elk become accustomed to their new home in Jackson County.  The elk will be held in quarantine, as required, within a seven-acre holding pen in the Black River State Forest to satisfy health testing requirements and allow the elk to become familiar with their new surroundings.

An area surrounding the acclimation pen will be closed to the public during that period.  In addition, individuals are asked to avoid the general vicinity of the closed area until the elk are released this summer.  Minimizing human disturbance near the release site will allow the elk to adjust to their new home and will help maximize the success of reintroduction efforts.