DNR: Bull elk seen in southern Wisconsin counties

Elk were eliminated from Wisconsin in the 1880s

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says bull elk have been observed in southern parts of the state.

The animals were driven out of Wisconsin in the 1880s, but efforts to restore the population in the Black River Falls area began in 2015.

Officials say it is common for young male elk to leave their home ranges during the fall breeding season.

These bulls are searching for unoccupied territory where competition for female elk is not as stiff.

The DNR asks that the elk be viewed from a safe distance.

Deer hunters are also encouraged to take extra care to not mistake elk for deer.

“Deer hunters in this area aren’t used to looking out for elk,” DNR Area Wildlife Supervisor Scott Roepke said in a statement Thursday. “Local deer hunters should make sure they’ve got a white-tail in their sights before taking a shot this season.”

Elk can be distinguished from deer by their shorter tail, taller stature, black legs, dark brown neck, and swept-back antlers.

Officials are asking anyone who sees an elk outside the Clam Lake and Black River Falls areas to report it.