Thanks to its thriving elk population, Kentucky will help restore the Wisconsin elk herd over the next three to five years. The plan calls for Kentucky to provide over 150 cows, calves, and yearling males from its herd—which had humble beginnings, but now includes 10,000 animals. Seven elk were transferred to Kentucky from Kansas in 1997, and the population has increased dramatically over the past 18 years. Wisconsin hunters hope to have similar results.
Wisconsin will pay Kentucky for the transported elk, which will be removed from areas where they have become a nuisance to residents. “It is fitting that we pay this debt forward by partnering with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to help them build their own herd,” says Commissioner Gregory K. Johnson of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources in an Archery Wire story.
In return, Wisconsin will help Kentucky develop forest habitat for local wildlife, with a special focus on improving habitat for ruffed grouse. “Cooperation is how wildlife agencies do business,” says Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Elk and Deer Program Coordinator Gabe Jenkins. “Agencies help each other for the benefit of all.”
The elk will be quarantined in Kentucky for disease testing before being transported to Wisconsin for calving season. Wisconsin DNR employees will assist with the trapping and disease testing across state lines. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which was instrumental in establishing Kentucky’s elk herd, will supply additional support.