Another exhilarating year of elk hunting has ended, and the 2019 season statistics are in. Success rates continue to be high for Michigan elk hunters.
Elk hunt period 1
Hunt period 1, which targets elk outside of their traditional range, was 12 days long, running Aug. 27-30, Sept. 13-16 and Sept. 27-30. The first four days of the hunt, temperatures were slightly cooler than normal with good weather, leading to early success. During the first hunt period, 96 state hunters harvested 71 elk (29 bulls, 40 cows and two calves). Additionally, all three Pure Michigan Hunt winners were successful during this elk hunt period.
Elk hunt period 2
During hunt period 2, Dec. 14-22, another 99 state hunters harvested 89 elk (30 bulls, 54 cows and 5 calves). The weather was ideal for hunters during the nine-day season, with multiple snowfalls and temperatures below freezing, creating perfect tracking conditions.
Among this year’s successful hunters was 8-year-old Braeleigh Miller. Already an avid hunter, Braeleigh took only one shot to harvest the 400-pound cow, and shortly afterwards, she helped to field-dress it as well.
When asked what her favorite part of the hunt was, she responded, “Seeing all the elk in the field. We went out to watch them the day before. They were all so big and beautiful.”
Annual elk survey
Due to a consistent trend in elk population data over the last several years, the annual elk survey will not be conducted this year. The aerial survey may resume in January 2021, when a Department of Natural Resources airplane will fly predetermined grids covering the entire elk range.
Elk regulations will be revisited for the 2020-2021 hunting seasons at the March Natural Resources Commission meeting.