Michigan Schedules a January Elk Hunt

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Michigan Department of Natural Resource officials today announced 105 elk were harvested during the December elk season. Elk hunting in Michigan was reinstated in 1984 and over the past 22 years, 4,951 elk licenses have been issued resulting in the harvest of 4,094 elk.

"The number of elk taken in 2006 is about what we anticipated," said Glen Matthews, Northeast Wildlife Management Unit supervisor. "However, to help maintain the elk population within our objective, additional elk need to be taken from elk management units 'B'and 'X' during a January hunt."

The DNR's objective is to maintain a winter herd of approximately 800 to 900 elk in Montmorency, Cheboygan, Presque Isle and Otsego counties. The elk herd has expanded outside the traditional four-county elk range and now can also be found in Alpena, Alcona, Emmet, Charlevoix and Oscoda counties.

This year, 168 hunters were selected through the statewide lottery, which is open only to Michigan residents. Those selected are required to attend an orientation course for the hunt and are assigned antlerless-only licenses or hunter's-choice licenses, which allow the harvest of a bull. An additional 40 elk hunters have been selected for the Jan. 16-20 hunt.

Of the 113 hunters drawn for the December hunt, 111 individuals participated; they harvested 41 bull elk and 64 antlerless elk. An early elk hunt occurred in late August and early September when 43 elk were taken.

"Hunting has been an effective management tool in maintaining the elk population within the established goal," said Bill Moritz, Wildlife Division chief. "These special seasons are instrumental in managing elk outside the traditional elk range. This is only the second time since elk hunting began that we have held a January hunt."