Elk hunts remain successful

BIG RAPIDS — The state’s elk hunt in northeastern Michigan continues to enjoy success, a northern Michigan DNR biologist said.

Katie Keen reported that in the first season in recent months, 43 hunters took elk out of 50 that had permits.

“That first season is broken off into 12 different days,” she said. “They’re able to hunt from late August to September. Our next season, considered the late elk hunt, (started) Dec. 5.”

Hunters were notified if they’ve received licenses.

“In 2003 is when we started this weighted lottery,” Keen said. “What that means is that there’s very few elk licenses every year and we have many hunters. People could apply for their lifetime and not receive a elk license. That happens. At the same time, someone that applies one time or 10 times could get drawn. But now, every time someone applies, you get another point. It’s a little different than for bear. But it still allows you to be drawn. The more points you have the more chances you have of getting drawn.”

The December hunt also awards 50 licenses.

“Usually for the later hunt, the leaves are off the trees and if you can find snow,you can track,” Keen said. “The December unit has its advantages compared to the early hunt.”

Area sportsmen have frequently participated in the elk hunt. In the past, hunters that received elk licenses were publicized by the DNR. But Keen said the names are now kept private.

The DNR digest on elk hunting points out the following:

“One of the goals of elk management in Michigan is to manage the elk population at sustainable levels so their numbers are in balance with their available habitat.”