• Thu. Sep 29th, 2022

Know your target: don’t accidentally shoot elk and moose this hunting season

ByMary M. Ward

Oct 15, 2021


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds hunters to know their target before shooting and understand the difference between elk and white-tailed deer this season.

The archery and crossbow deer seasons are currently underway. Antlerless elk are most often confused with large hinds, in addition to young male elk which can look like large bucks. Any elk caught without a tag may result in a fine and revocation of your hunting license.

How to identify a moose:

  • Adult elk are larger than adult deer. An adult elk is about 1 to 2 feet taller than an adult deer at shoulder level. An elk calf will be about the same size as an adult white-tailed doe, but will display similar coloring to an adult elk.
  • Spot the difference in the woods. White-tailed antlers bend forward, while elk antlers are larger and descend from their heads.
  • Look for color marks. Elk have a tan rump patch, black legs, and dark brown mane. Deer have legs the same color as their body, a white patch on the throat, and a fluffy white tail.
  • Additional markers. Elk moving statewide may have visible markers, including digital ear tags or tracking collars. These necklaces are set around the neck and usually orange in the collar, sometimes with a visible printed number.

Find out the differences between elk and white-tailed deer below using the MNR comparison guide.

Although Wisconsin has not reintroduced moose, there are several verified observations of moose in northern Wisconsin each year. A few hunters may even be lucky enough to see one this fall.

Find your adventure over the next nine-day white-tailed deer season, November 20-28, 2021. Use the MNR’s free Hunt Wild Wisconsin mobile app for everything you need in the field, from boundaries to ownership to chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling and deer carcass disposal. locations and electronic regulations, including filming times.

Discover new public lands to explore, improve regulations, or listen to podcasts in the Hunt Wild Wisconsin app. With mobile mapping, down-to-the-minute shooting times and more, all the tools are available for hunters to focus on their time outdoors.

Once widespread in North America, the elk was wiped out from Wisconsin in the 1880s. With the support of many partners and the support of the Wisconsinites, the elk were reintroduced to the state in 1995. Thanks to MNR’s efforts to restore species, the elk herd continues to expand, making it essential for hunters to know their target to protect this growing population. .

Currently, there are two herds containing a total of over 400 elk in the reintroduction areas of Wisconsin: one in the north comprising Ashland, Bayfield, Price, Rusk and Sawyer counties, and one in the region surrounding the county. by Jackson. Sometimes elk can wander beyond these areas, so it’s important for deer hunters statewide to be sure of their target.

Sightings of elk outside of management areas or moose can be reported to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources through the Large Mammal Sighting Form.

Hunters must follow all gun safety rules and be sure of their target and what lies beyond. Positive target identification ensures the safety of other people and prevents accidental shooting of untargeted animals.


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