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Lansing – The opening period of Michigan’s elk hunting season is getting underway during the centennial year of the species’ return to the state.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says 100 hunters will have 12 days beginning Tuesday to pursue an elk. Seventy antlerless-only licenses and 30 any-elk licenses have been issued.

Officials say the early period lets hunters shoot an elk anywhere within the elk management unit except within the core range area. That approach is designed to keep most of Michigan’s elk inside the core range.

It was 100 years ago that seven elk were brought from the western U.S. to re-establish Michigan’s herd.

The population is now estimated at 1,200, exceeding the goal of 500 to 900.

A Sept. 8 celebration of the centennial is planned in Gaylord.

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