Minnesota -(Ammoland.com)- Hunters have until Friday, June 12, to apply for one of seven elk licenses offered this year by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Hunters interested in applying for a license can find maps of the two hunting zones and other pertinent information on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/elk. Elk licenses will be available in Kittson County’s central and northeast zones, while the Grygla area will be closed to enable that area’s elk population to rebuild to goal levels.
“The goals of the state’s elk management plan influence the number of hunting licenses available,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “The management plan aims to balance the interest of hunters, landowners and others.”
The DNR has started a public process to revisit the elk management plan with the intent to update objectives by 2016. Goals in the current plan were established for 2009 to 2015.
Aerial surveys report fewer elk
As a result of lower elk numbers, fewer licenses will be offered and this year’s hunt will be restricted to one season. The 2015 elk season runs from Saturday, Sept. 12, to Sunday, Sept. 20. Five bulls-only licenses 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). One landowner license will be available in the Kittson County central elk zone.
McInenly said aerial surveys conducted this winter in the Grygla area (zone 10) identified 18 elk, which is the lowest count in a number of years and is below the pre-calving goal range of 30 to 38 animals. This is the third year in a row that the herd has been below goal and a season has not been held.
The aerial survey conducted in the Kittson County central zone (zone 20) also indicated a population decline, with 34 elk observed this year. While the herd has declined in size, it is still above the established population goal of 20 to 30 animals.
Elk within the Kittson County northeast zone spend a portion of the year in Manitoba, Canada. A short-term population goal of 150 to 200 elk has been collaboratively established for this international herd, which consists of approximately 100 elk.
Apply at any DNR license agent, the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul,www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense or by telephone at 888-665-4236. Hunters may apply individually or in parties of two. There is a non-refundable application fee of $4 per hunter. License cost is $287.