USA -(Ammoland.com)- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds deer hunters hunting in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan that wild elk are also found in this area and cannot be harvested without an elk hunting license.
“Unfortunately, in the past we have had deer hunters who make the mistake of harvesting a young male or a calf elk thinking it’s a white-tailed deer,” said Shelby Hiestand, DNR wildlife biologist. “Although a mistake, this would be an illegal take of game, which is a serious wildlife offense.”
Elk and white-tailed deer are close relatives and from the same Cervidae family, but hunters can tell the difference between them by looking at a few characteristics.
“Always positively ID your target before pulling the trigger,” said Hiestand. “You have all of the control over taking an animal, so be certain on what you are harvesting.”
Deer and elk have significant size differences. Elk can weigh several hundred pounds more and stand 2-4 feet taller than deer.
Elk males also have a different appearance, with a lighter back and hindquarters and a darker, reddish-brown neck and head. Female elk are a reddish-brown color without a color variation.
Both male deer and elk have antlers. Adult bull elk antlers are typically significantly larger than white-tailed deer antlers and branch beyond the ears; however, young spike bulls can have significantly smaller, unbranched antlers.
“If you know of a wildlife violation that has taken place or you have made a mistake, call our Report All Poaching line at 1-800-292-7800,” said Hiestand.
Michigan has had an elk hunting season annually since 1984, and a weighted lottery system has been used since 2003.
In 2016, 200 elk hunting licenses were available to those selected in the random drawing.
To learn about how the elk hunting lottery works, see this video.
About the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations.
For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.
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