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MN expanded wildlife management areas by 2,000 acres this year

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Minnesota added more than 2,067 acres to its wildlife management areas this fall.

The Department of Natural Resources says the acquired land is allowing it to expand 20 existing wildlife management areas (WMAs) and create two new ones.

The agency says the areas protect quality wildlife habitat and give Minnesotans more places to hunt and watch wildlife or use hiking or skiing trails.

The land was acquired with help from conservation groups including Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever. Nearly 1,300 acres were purchased with money from Minnesota's Outdoor Heritage Fund, although the DNR did not specify the cost.

It was purchased gradually this fall, with the DNR releasing a tabulation of the total acreage Monday.

The two new WMAs are in Mille Lacs and Rice Counties and should be ready for hunters in the 2016 season, the DNR says.

Statewide, 86 of Minnesota's 87 counties contain wildlife management areas in a system that now includes 1.3 million acres. You can locate WMAs on interactive maps available here or here.

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