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.
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 email@example.com 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.