DNR Plans Aerial Deer, Elk Surveys In Northwest Minnesota

This past weekend’s blizzard should be good news for wildlife crews from the Department of Natural Resources, who are planning to conduct helicopter deer surveys in parts of northwest Minnesota and elsewhere in the state from now through March.

Snow cover is essential to spotting the animals from the air.

In far northwest Minnesota, the DNR is planning the aerial surveys in deer permit areas 260 and 264 in Kittson, Marshall, Pennington and Roseau counties. Aerial elk surveys using both an airplane and helicopter also are planned for the Kittson County and Grygla, Minn., elk ranges.

The DNR also has scheduled helicopter deer surveys in central and southeast Minnesota: permit areas 239 and 270 in Becker, Clay, Grant, Otter Tail and Wilkin counties; permit areas 214, 215, 221 and 22 in Benton, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Stearns, Todd and Wadena counties; and deer permit areas 341-349 and 602 in Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties.

“Good wildlife management decisions are based on good science,” Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the DNR, said in a statement. “These survey flights collect some of baseline data we need to make those decisions.”

DNR pilots will fly survey areas in 18 deer permit areas during daylight hours at about 200 feet. Results of aerial surveys are used to help estimate deer population in these areas.

For more information about the northwest Minnesota portion of the survey, contact the regional wildlife office in Bemidji at (218) 308-2651. Anyone with questions also can contact the DNR’s farmland wildlife research office in Madelia, Minn., at (507) 642-8478; the northwest regional wildlife office in Bemidji at (218) 308-2651; or the Rochester area wildlife office at (507) 206-2859.