Goodbye loon, hello elk: DNR rolls out new plate design

New elk plate, retiring loon plate. Photos courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

LANSING — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced a new wildlife license plate design.

A new elk plate will be available beginning December 1st to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the reintroduction of elk in Michigan. The new design will replace the common loon plate.

The DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason said in a statement that the loon plate has helped raise over $2.6 million for wildlife habitats since 2006. All of the proceeds from the elk plate will continue to help wildlife management.

Those interested in purchasing the loon plate can do so until November 30th.

Read the DNR’s statement in it’s entirety below:

Starting Dec. 1, a new wildlife license plate will be available in Michigan. The current common loon plate will be replaced with an elk plate to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the reintroduction of elk in Michigan.

“We are excited for the changing of the guard,” said Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. “The loon license plate has had a long run, and helped to raise over $2.6 million for wildlife habitat since 2006.”

Next year marks 100 years since elk were reintroduced to Michigan, and celebrations are planned throughout the year. 

Once common in Michigan, elk had disappeared from the state in the 1800s due to unregulated take and lack of habitat.   

In 1918, seven elk were brought from the western United States to Wolverine, Michigan. The healthy and abundant elk population in the state today is a result of intentional land management and increased law enforcement.

“All funds from the sale of the elk license plate will continue to help wildlife management,” said Mason. “This funding is extremely important because it helps all wildlife.”

Those interested in purchasing the current common loon plate have until Nov. 30. Those who already have the loon license plate can keep it, with thanks from the DNR for supporting wildlife.

A new license plate can be purchased from the Secretary of State at any time for $35. An additional $10 specialty license plate fee is charged annually when drivers renew their registration. The funds from this renewal fee are given directly to the DNR for wildlife habitat work.

Order specialty license plates by mail or fax or at any Secretary of State branch office. To purchase a plate by mail or fax, complete and print the Wildlife Habitat License Plate Order Form. The plate will be mailed within 14 business days from the date it is ordered. 

  • Nov. 30 – last day to purchase the loon license plate.
  • Dec. 1 – first day to purchase the new elk license plate.

To learn more about the state’s elk population and history, visit michigan.gov/elk.