MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that three lucky Wisconsin residents won a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hunt elk during the 2022 elk season, which opens Saturday, Oct. 15.

The DNR randomly selected the three hunters from more than 25,000 applicants. The winning hunters are from Fort Atkinson, Hudson and New Richmond.

“Making these calls to application winners is something I look forward to every year,” said Josh Spiegel, DNR Wildlife Biologist, who called winners individually to inform them they won. “All three hunters were surprised to receive the call. Many of our state’s hunters love the opportunity to support Wisconsin elk, but the level of excitement of the drawing winners is unmatched.”

In May, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved a harvest quota of eight bulls from the northern elk management zone. This is the same number of tags approved for the 2021 season. Of the eight tags, the DNR will award three to state hunters, with a fourth tag being issued through a drawing by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The Ojibwe tribes will receive an allocation for the remaining four elk tags per their treaty rights within the Ceded Territory.

Those still interested in a chance at Wisconsin’s elk hunt still have time to participate in a raffle for the remaining state elk tag through the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. As with the annual application, only Wisconsin residents are eligible to win, but there is no limit to the number of raffle tickets an individual can purchase. Proceeds from the raffle will help fund elk management and research in Wisconsin. Interested hunters can purchase raffle tickets on the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation website. The Foundation will draw the winner on Saturday, Aug. 13.

The 25,742 Wisconsinites who applied for an elk permit this year contributed directly to the future of the state’s elk population. For each $10 application fee, $7 goes to elk management, habitat restoration and research. In 2022, some applicants chose to give amounts above the $10 fee, and their additional donations totaled more than $9,860.

The 2022 elk hunting season will occur only in Wisconsin’s northern elk zone in parts of Ashland, Bayfield, Price, Rusk and Sawyer counties, where the first restoration effort began with 25 elk from Michigan in 1995. The northern elk herd population is projected to reach 336 animals this year.

Although the state’s central elk herd is projected to number 130 elk this summer after calving, hunting will not occur in the central elk management zone in 2022. For more information on the elk hunt, visit the DNR’s elk webpageSign up for email updates on current translocation efforts on the DNR’s website by selecting the “elk in Wisconsin” and “wildlife projects” distribution lists.

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