Northwest elk research continues
Hunters have through Friday, June 16, to apply for one of 13 elk licenses offered this year by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“We have native elk herds and managing them involves balancing the benefit they provide to all Minnesotans with the damage these large animals do to fences and crops,” said Adam Murkowski, DNR big game program leader. “Our elk management plan provides background and guidance on our elk management and research.”
Licenses will be available for two concurrent elk seasons in Kittson County’s central (zone 20) and northeast (zone 30) zones. The Grygla area elk zone will not be open to hunting in 2017 because that area’s elk population is below the population goal level outlined in the elk management plan.
The first 2017 elk season runs from Saturday, Sept. 9, to Sunday, Sept. 17, in both open elk hunt zones. Three bulls-only licenses and one antlerless-only elk license will be available in the Kittson County central zone (zone 20) and two bulls-only licenses will be available in the Kittson County northeast zone (zone 30).
The second 2017 elk season runs from Saturday, Oct. 7, to Sunday, Oct. 15. Three bulls-only licenses and one antlerless-only elk license will be available in the Kittson County central zone (zone 20) and three bulls-only licenses will be available in the Kittson County northeast zone (zone 30) for the second season.
Hunters may apply individually or in parties of two at any DNR license agent, the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul, on the buy a license page or by telephone at 888-665-4236. There is a nonrefundable application fee of $4 per hunter. The license fee is $287. Hunters will have to select a zone and season when applying. Hunting information including maps of the elk hunting zones is on the elk hunting page.
In addition to managing elk populations through hunting, the DNR continues to track 19 adult cow elk that were outfitted with GPS tracking collars in early 2016 for a research project that will enhance knowledge of elk and help inform elk management in the future. Applicants should be mindful that if successful in the antlerless lottery, they will be asked to not shoot radio-collared cows because the study is ongoing.
More information on Minnesota’s current elk herd and ongoing studies exploring the feasibility of reintroducing elk to northeastern Minnesota in the future can be found on the DNR elk page and elk.umn.edu.