DNR schedules meeting to summarize elk plan comments

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced this afternoon that it is holding a public meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 3 in Lancaster, Minn., to discuss and summarize the comments it has received on the new management plan for northwest Minnesota’s elk herds.

Two bull elk walk in deep snow in 2006 during the Department of Natural Resources' winter aerial survey near Grygla, Minn.  has released a draft of its new five-year elk management plan and has scheduled public comment meetings next month in New Brighton, Lancaster and Grygla, Minn. (Minnesota DNR photo)

Two bull elk walk in deep snow in 2006 during the Department of Natural Resources’ winter aerial survey near Grygla, Minn. The DNR has scheduled a public meeting for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 3 in Lancaster, Minn., to discuss the draft of its new five-year elk management plan and comments it has received so far. The comment period on the draft plan is open through Jan. 22. (Minnesota DNR photo)

The meeting will be held in the Lancaster School, 401 Central Ave.. The comment period ends Jan. 22, and the new plan will guide elk management through 2020.

The DNR also will discuss landowner participation in the upcoming elk collaring effort in
mid-February. The collaring effort is part of the Movement and Seasonal Habitat Use of Minnesota Elk research project, designed to improve the DNR’s understanding of elk biology in Minnesota, the news release indicated. It is the first of its kind in the state.

Also, if the weather cooperates, the DNR hopes to conduct its annual winter aerial survey of northwest Minnesota elk next week.

John Williams, regional wildlife manager for the DNR in Bemidji, said the Feb. 3  meeting will include a presentation summarizing the comments received by area residents and other Minnesotans on the draft elk management plan. There also will be opportunities for public discussion of the comments and the plan itself.

“This will allow citizens to hear a summary of the elk management plan comments received by the DNR,” Williams said in a news release.

The DNR also will discuss the upcoming  elk research project with landowners in the elk range and seek permission to capture elk on private land. Beginning in February, the DNR plans to capture 20 adult cow elk and fit them with GPS collars to track movement and seasonal habitat use.

Elk are managed to maintain a free-ranging, wild population in Minnesota. Three herds totaling an estimated 130 animals roam portions of far northwestern Minnesota and comprise the state’s entire elk population, according to the DNR’s most recent population survey.

Comments on the draft plan may be submitted online at www.mndnr.gov/elk after going to the elk management page, reviewing the plan and clicking on “take survey.” Comments also can be emailed to  elkplan.dnr@state.mn.us or by postal mail to Elk Comments, DNR Wildlife, 2115 Birchmont Beach Rd NE, Bemidji, MN, 56601.

For more on elk management in Minnesota, visit www.mndnr.gov/elk.

DNR extends comment period on elk management plan

If you want to comment on the proposed new plan for managing Minnesota’s elk herd, you’ve got a few more weeks to do so.

Two bull elk walk in deep snow in 2006 during the Department of Natural Resources' winter aerial survey near Grygla, Minn. has released a draft of its new five-year elk management plan and has scheduled public comment meetings next month in New Brighton, Lancaster and Grygla, Minn. (Minnesota DNR photo)

Two bull elk walk in deep snow in 2006 during the Department of Natural Resources’ winter aerial survey near Grygla, Minn.  (Minnesota DNR photo)

The Department of Natural Resources announced today it’s extending the deadline to comment on the plan until Jan. 22. The original deadline was this coming Sunday.

The proposal, which replaces a five-year plan that expires Dec. 31, will govern elk management from 2016 through 2020.

The draft management plan addresses elk population goals, elk-landowner conflicts and opportunities to hunt and view elk in northwest Minnesota where three herds totaling an estimated 130 animals roam.

After reviewing the draft plan, comments may be submitted online at here or via electronic or postal mail.

Email comments, including name and address, to elkplan.dnr@state.mn.us. Send comments via postal mail to: Elk Comments, DNR Wildlife, 2115 Birchmont Beach Road NE, Bemidji, MN, 56601.

For more on elk management in Minnesota, click here.

DNR releases new elk management plan, comment meetings set

The Department of Natural Resources has scheduled two public meetings in northwest Minnesota next month to discuss the draft of a new five-year management plan for elk in Minnesota. The existing plan, in effect since 2009, expires at the end of the year.

The meetings in northwest Minnesota are scheduled for 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Lancaster Community Center, 95 Second St. W., in Lancaster, Minn., and 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Grygla Community Center, 127 S. Main Ave., Grygla, Minn.

Two bull elk walk in deep snow in 2006 during the Department of Natural Resources' winter aerial survey near Grygla, Minn.  has released a draft of its new five-year elk management plan and has scheduled public comment meetings next month in New Brighton, Lancaster and Grygla, Minn. (Minnesota DNR photo)

Two bull elk walk in deep snow in 2006 during the Department of Natural Resources’ winter aerial survey near Grygla, Minn. The DNR has released a draft of its new five-year elk management plan and has scheduled public comment meetings next month in New Brighton, Lancaster and Grygla, Minn. (Minnesota DNR photo)

A meeting also is scheduled for 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 3 at the New Brighton Community Center, 400 10th St. N.W., New Brighton, Minn., for interested stakeholders in the Twin Cities area.

The meetings will begin with an open house followed by a formal presentation and opportunities to provide both oral and written comments.

Minnesota’s three elk herds are located near Lancaster and Caribou Township in Kittson County and near Grygla. In a news release, the DNR said the draft plan addresses elk population goals, elk-landowner conflicts and opportunities to hunt and view elk.

Local elk work groups made up of a broad spectrum of stakeholders in northwest Minnesota helped the DNR develop the new draft plan.

“The goal of the draft elk management plan is to maintain a healthy elk population that offers recreational and economic opportunities to citizens of the state,” said John Williams, DNR northwest region wildlife manager in Bemidji. “To provide these opportunities, the DNR must also address conflicts between elk and landowners.”

Minnesota’s elk population is estimated at 130 animals between the three herds. The Caribou-Vita herd — also known as the “border herd” or “international herd” because it roams between northeast Kittson County and the Vita, Man., area in Canada — has an estimated population of 120 to 150 elk, the DNR said, including 79 that were counted on the Minnesota side of the border during last winter’s aerial survey.

The Kittson-Central herd near Lancaster includes just over 30 elk, the DNR said, while the Grygla herd, which has declined in recent years, had only 18 elk during last winter’s survey, the DNR said.

The comment period for the new elk plan opened today and continues through Dec. 27. After reviewing the draft plan, comments may be submitted online at www.mndnr.gov/elk or via electronic or postal mail.
Email comments, including your name and address, to elkplan.dnr@state.mn.us or send via postal mail to: Elk Comments, DNR Wildlife, 2115 Birchmont Beach Rd NE, Bemidji, MN, 56601.