DNR release elk into Black River State Forest

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JACKSON COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) -- Elk are now free to roam Jackson County after being released.

According to a release sent out from the governor's desk, 23 elk were let out of their pen and into the Black River State Forest.

The elk were trapped in Kentucky last winter and kept in a secure facility until now.

Gov. Scott Walker says it's a move that's good for wildlife and tourism.

“We have reached another milestone in our efforts to reintroduce elk to Wisconsin,” said Walker. “The release of these elk marks a successful first year of a multi-year effort to establish a new elk herd in Jackson County and the Clam Lake area. A healthy and thriving herd will not only enhance our wildlife resources, positively impact tourism, and ultimately grow our economy. “

The elk have GPS tracking collars so they can be monitored.

The DNR hopes to bring up 150 elk to Wisconsin over the next five years.