A lot of people don't know that we have wild elk right here in Wisconsin. Elk used to roam all across North America, but they disappeared from Wisconsin back in the 1880s due to hunting and habit losses. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reintroduced elk into the state back in 1995, and then again in 2015. Now there are estimated to be over 400 elk in the state. A couple of lucky motorists got to witness a nice sized herd up close.

Susan & Kevin were traveling home on vacation on Highway 77 when they spotted a herd of 21 elk crossing the highway. What a cool sight to see!

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It happened in Clam Lake, Wisconsin where an elk herd is being monitored by the DNR. There are two herds in the state. The Clam Lake, Wisconsin heard ranges across Ashland, Bayfield, Sawyer, Price, and Rusk counties in Northern Wisconsin. The other herd in the state is called the Black River Herd, which can be found in Jackson County.

The Wisconsin elk population started with just 25 elk back in 1995. Today, there are about 400 elk in Wisconsin. Susan counted 21 elk in this herd crossing the highway.

It's really majestic to see these animals out in the wild, but the DNR reminds people to give them space, and respect the elk and their habitat. They ask that you do not call to the elk or approach them on foot. That may send the elk into areas that "they normally do not reside in," and makes them more susceptible to predators and vehicle collisions.

 

The DNR says an elk hasn't been killed by a predator since 2017. The leading cause of death of elk in Wisconsin is from vehicle collisions.

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Still, the population grows. I was searching for some other videos of elk in Wisconsin when I found this gem. Here's two bull elk sparring in the Clam Lake area.

So next time you are driving through North Central Wisconsin, keep an eye out for these beautiful animals.

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