Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wild Wisconsin Elk!

This beautiful wild bull elk wearing a radio collar is part of the Clam Lake elk herd located in the Chequamegon - Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin. Historically elk were found throughout the state of Wisconsin, but by the turn of the twentieth century they had been completely extirpated due to over hunting. After an absence of almost 100 years in 1995 25 elk were reintroduced to the Wisconsin wilds.

This original herd of 25 elk has now grown to an estimated 144 animals and that is not counting the soon to be born calves of this year. All and all it's quite a success story and great to have elk back in Wisconsin.

Two bull elk in April of 2009.

Although this small bull elk was photographed in late April it had yet to drop it's antlers.

The young bull didn't seem the least bit camera shy.

It is important for motorists to pay attention while driving in the Clam Lake area. Street signs with yellow caution lights have been placed along several miles of highway 77 to warn drivers and protect the elk.

Over the years I have enjoyed photographing elk many times in the western United States and Canada, but it sure is nice to be able to spend time with these magnificent animals right here in Wisconsin.

If you have the chance to go to the Clam Lake area I hope that you see some Wisconsin elk. As with all wildlife viewing, there are no guarantees, but I've seen elk about 33% of the time this year. If you go, good luck and enjoy the elk.