Skip to main content

Could expanded elk herds be a tourist attraction for northwest Minnesota?

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is considering a plan to expand the number of elk in northwest Minnesota in order to bring more hunters and tourists to that part of the state.

The Pioneer Press notes that there are currently three herds numbering around 130 animals in the northwestern corner of the state, but the DNR's draft plan would increase that to some 300 animals.

DNR Northwest Region Wildlife Manager John Williams tells MPR News that elk have proven to be a strong tourist draw in other states.

The DNR's strategic management plan for elk includes a draft proposal for expanding the herds. The DNR's plan states, "The long term vision is to enhance the size and range extent of Minnesota’s elk population and provide increased recreational opportunities," with a "healthy, self-sustaining, managed population."

The plan also includes support for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa which is considering re-introducing elk into northeastern Minnesota.

The DNR plan says it seeks to maintain "positive coexistence" with private landowners, who have objected to the herd in the past because of the potential for destruction to crops and fences posed by the large beasts.

The DNR's new draft plan would cover elk management between 2016 and 2020. A public meeting on the Minnesota elk plan will be held Dec. 3 in New Brighton. Meetings are also scheduled for Dec. 15 in Lancaster and December 16th in Grygla, two northwest Minnesota communities that are home to the elk.

Minnesota has had a limited elk hunting season since 2012.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 9.56.21 AM

North High principal Mauri Friestleben returning to finish year

The principal said Friday she had been fired from her role over her support of a student protest.


One dead, two injured in wrong-way crash on Hwy. 169

The crash occurred on Highway 169 early Sunday morning.

minneapolis police

Man fatally shot overnight in north Minneapolis

The shooting was reported around 2:20 a.m.

Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 8.30.08 AM

Campsites closed at Voyageurs National Park due to 'historic' water levels

All backcountry trails and campsites are closed, as well as many frontcountry sites.

state capitol Minnesota

Lawmakers reach agreement on tax cuts ahead of session's end

Lawmakers announced they had reached a deal on a tax bill Saturday ahead of the looming session deadline.


Victims of daytime drive-by shooting in Robbinsdale identified

The two men died after a hail of bullets struck a vehicle.

Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 8.14.37 AM

Source of 'loud explosion' in Brooklyn Park a mystery

The noise was investigated by police, but no source could be determined.

covid, vaccine, booster shots

COVID: All Americans over 50 advised to get a second booster

Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise again as new COVID variants emerge.

J.W. Peck (left) and Eric Galler.

2 Minnesotans inducted into White Castle's Hall of Fame

White Castle — it's what a man in Minneapolis and another in Woodbury, crave.

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 5.46.37 PM

Video shows officers ended pursuit before fatal crash in Anoka

The crash occurred when the driver fled police during an attempted traffic stop in Coon Rapids.

Eli Hart

6-year-old Eli Hart identified as boy found dead in car trunk

The kindergartner's father was trying to get full custody of his son.


Boy found dead in trunk of car in Mound was kindergartner

"It is horrifying and difficult to process a tragedy of this magnitude, especially in our close-knit community," the superintendent wrote.