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Elk herd growing near Clam Lake, new calves get tracking collars


CLAM LAKE, Wis. -  Wildlife officials say this has been an exceptional spring and early summer for Wisconsin’s elk herd. 

Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists teamed up with about 250 volunteers near Clam Lake to check on the elk after calving season. They monitored 45 pregnant cows, and have expected about 37 new calves. So far, staff has fitted tracking collars on 23 of the new calves, and they’re still hoping to capture more of the newborns.

Elk Biologist Laine Stowell says late springs are normally tough on the herd, but this year was different. He also says more female calves were born this year, which will help with future herd growth. So far, there are no signs of losing newborn calves to predators, either.

More good news for Wisconsin’s elk herd came recently with the signing of the state budget. The Legislature gave the DNR authority to bring in additional wild elk to boost the Clam Lake herd and start a second wild herd in the Black River Falls area of Jackson County. Both plans have significant public support and financial backing from partners outside of the DNR.