Trying to grow second herd: Wisconsin DNR releases elk in Jackson County

MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released nearly two dozen elk into the Jackson County woods in an effort to grow a second herd in the state.

Wisconsin has had only one elk herd, which roams Ashland County. The DNR wants to bring in 150 Kentucky elk to bolster the northern herd and create a Jackson County herd.

The DNR moved 26 elk from Kentucky to Jackson County this spring after they completed a 45-day quarantine period. Seven died during a second quarantine period here. Five succumbed to Babesiosis, a tick-borne disease. One was euthanized. Another died from digestive problems coupled with birthing complications. The group gave birth to four calves in Wisconsin.

The DNR opened the holding pen for all 23 elk to the wild on Thursday.