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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

The 25 Elk introduced into Wisconsin in 1995 have increased to 160 strong...............they are faring nicely and nudging forward dancing natures dance with Wolves and Black Bears as their pursuers...........Last year,.female fawn recruitment was somewhat higher than it was for males, a good sign for continued growth of the herd

Click the following to access the sent link:
Paul A. Smith - State's elk population up slightly from last year, DNR says*

State's elk population up slightly from last year, DNR says

Clam Lake — It's a couple days from the astronomical start of summer, but the season already has hit full stride in the North Woods.
Camps are open, piers are in and mosquitoes are out in force.
On another calendar, these June days are the start of a new year.
As cow elk give birth to calves, the annual cycle of replenishment has returned.
It's the beginning of the "elk year."

Drives along roads and hikes through trails of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest revealed few elk sightings this week. But hidden in the undergrowth, spotted calves are living out their first days of life.
"We're turning the page," said Laine Stowell, elk biologist with the Department of Natural Resources. "The first weeks and even months it's not always apparent, but we know from experience the cows are doing their jobs, adding a new batch to the herd."
According to a DNR estimate, Wisconsin had 160 elk at the end of the 2013-'14 elk year, up from 158 the previous year.
The Wisconsin elk herd sustained 24 documented mortalities in the last year: 12 from wolf predation, four from vehicle collisions, three from unknown causes, three from winter severity, one from birth complications and one calf death due to exposure (it was born just before a long, cold rain).
Since elk were returned to Wisconsin in 1995, 42% of elk mortality in the state has been due to wolves, 14% to vehicles and 11% to bears.

Slow annual growth is fairly typical for the herd, which was established with the transfer of 25 animals from Michigan. The elk were released in the national forest near Clam Lake as part of an experimental reintroduction. The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point monitored the herd, then transferred responsibility to the DNR.
Stowell said 37 elk calves were produced last year in Wisconsin, including 23 that were found by volunteers and DNR staff and outfitted with radio-collars. Of the 23 found, 13 were females and 10 were males, the first time since 1995 more females were observed in the calf crop.
That's a hopeful sign for growth of the herd. The more adult female elk, the more potential offspring.
The number of elk calves produced this year won't be known for months. This year, the DNR suspended its program to search for elk calves in late spring and early summer. The decision was made to cut costs and reduce strain on staff.
Stowell said that instead of collaring elk calves when they are days old, the DNR will attempt to trap and collar surviving calves this winter. The DNR captures part of the elk herd each year to conduct health checks and replace radio collars.
The DNR had allowed volunteers from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and field trip participants with the Natural Resources Foundation to assist with elk calf searches in recent years. As many as 200 volunteers assisted with searches in some years.
"We always knew it was a DNR project that we were able to help with," said Kurt Flack, RMEF regional director. "It was very popular and we enjoyed the opportunity to get people up there and help look for the elk. Hopefully there will be another opportunity down the road."
Elk are here to stay, according to a DNR management plan approved by the Natural Resources Board in 2012. The plan includes a goal of transferring more elk to Wisconsin from another state. It also seeks to establish a second herd in Jackson County.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has pledged $300,000 to help fund the transfer of elk into Wisconsin. The foundation has 10,681 members in Wisconsin.
The DNR has been negotiating a deal to bring elk into Wisconsin, but no agreement is in place, said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk biologist. The agency expects to have an answer in August or September.
The DNR has started projects this year to improve another key to the state's elk herd: habitat.

Stowell said openings are being cut on several properties in the elk range. Elk do well in areas with young aspen trees. The animals not only find food in the regrowth but are better able to elude predators in the dense stands, Stowell said.
The early successional forest is also beneficial to game birds such as ruffed grouse and wild turkey and non-game species such as golden-winged warbler.
"Everything we do to help elk also helps dozens of other native wildlife species," Stowell said. "If things go as planned, we'll have more elk at the start of next year, too."
NRB meeting, public comment deadline: The Natural Resources Board will meet Wednesday in Milwaukee. The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m.; it will be held in the Marquette Room at the Ambassador Inn at Marquette, 2301 W. Wisconsin Ave.
The seven-member board sets policy for the DNR. The Milwaukee meeting agenda includes: establishing an early teal hunting season and lengthening the mourning dove hunting season; establishing a wolf harvest quota and number of hunting and trapping licenses for the 2014-'15 season; recommendations for the first phase of land sales to occur under the direction of the state budget bill; a report regarding hunting and trapping in state parks as expanded by 2011 Act 168; and requests for approval to hold public hearings on proposed rule changes for the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program and proposed rule changes affecting the Clean Water Fund Program.
The NRB provides opportunities for citizens to appear and submit written comments regarding issues that come before the board. Requests for citizen participation and for public appearances on specific action items must be made, and written comments must be submitted, to the board liaison before 11 a.m. Friday. 

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