Wisconsin's first round of managed elk hunting ended Sunday, and aside from one incident of illegal harvesting, the DNR is calling it a success in their newsletter.
"It was unfortunate that the hunt started off the way it did with an illegal harvest, but since then the other hunters have shared the story of some great hunts in a wilderness setting and the local hunters and others in the community have been overwhelmingly excited and helpful to them!" said Kevin Wallenfang, deer and elk ecologist specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The illegal harvest took place in Sawyer County when a hunter shot a bull elk that was standing on the opposite side of the same roadway from them.
The hunter faces a potential penalty of $217.90 for allegedly discharging a firearm from across a roadway in violation of state statute 167. The hunter will face a second civil forfeiture of $222.90 if found guilty of hunting within 50 feet of the road center per administrative code NR 10.
A wild animal surcharge for elk of $2,000 will also be added to the total penalty as directed by the Wisconsin Judicial Conference if the incident is determined to be an illegal harvest.
A harvest quota of 10 bulls, elk with an antler of at least 6 inches in length, was approved for the hunt. Five were filled by mid-October by the Chippewa tribes and three of the four more were harvested at the end of the first round of hunting between Nov. 8 and 11.
Wallenfang says each of the most recent bulls harvested had impressive antlers of 5 by 5 or larger. All were 6-10-years-old.
The DNR received over 38,000 applications to participate in the hunt, and all revenue from the applications goes toward elk habitat management, research and monitoring in Wisconsin.
Elk hunting season is back Dec. 13-21.
The 2019 elk hunt application period will occur throughout the month of May.