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DNR loosens threshold for holding elk hunt

Elk (Credit: Wisconsin DNR)

MADISON — The state Department of Natural Resources board is loosening criteria for holding elk hunts.

Right now state regulations allow the DNR to initiate an elk season once herds in the Clam Lake and Black River regions reach 200 and 150 animals respectively. The rules also limit the number of permits to 5 percent of the total population.

DNR officials say those thresholds aren’t essential to managing the herds. They’ve proposed new regulations allowing the department to use current scientific data to determine whether the population could support a limited bull harvest and repealing the 5 percent permit limit. The agency would instead consider heard structure, population dynamics and other metrics when setting permit levels.

The board approved the proposal unanimously during a meeting Wednesday in Hayward.