BARNES -- A rare discovery of the remains of a pre-historic elk has people in Bayfield County buzzing.

The discovery, if its age is confirmed, could answer questions about the life of Paleo-Indians, the first people to inhabit Wisconsin.

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The ancient elk will be partially excavated this summer. The elk, called the "Silver Beach Elk," is believed to be 10,000 years old. It was found last July in a lake near Barnes in Bayfield County.

UW-Milwaukee anthropologist Jean Hudson has been working on the case. She says finding the antlers next to a fluted- point Paleo-Indian spearhead is rare, but they have lots of work ahead to verify its age. She says the researchers would be excited if they could confirm that the elk is over 10,000 years old.

Carbon dating put the bones at just 500 years old, but Hudson says that's not conclusive; and that other evidence points to this elk being pre-historic. One clue is the 50-inch-high antlers. Today's elk weigh about 800 pounds, whereas the Silver Beach Elk may have weighed 1,100 pounds.

Quinton Reprecht owns the lake property where the elk was found. He and other locals are working to raise money to cover excavation and preservation costs.

The state has declared the area, which is on the bottom of Middle Eau Claire Lake, an archeological site.