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Only seven elk hunting licenses available this year as DNR seeks to protect herds

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Interested in hunting elk this year? Well, you'll be lucky to get a license, with only seven being offered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR is taking applications between now and June 12 to hunt elk in two parts of Minnesota during this year's elk hunting season, running from Saturday, Sept. 12 to Sunday, Sept. 20, according to a DNR release.

But as part of effort to boost elk populations in Minnesota, just seven licenses will be available, two fewer than the nine that were offered last year.

"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."

Licenses will be available for Kittson County's central and northeast zones, while the Grygla area, in Marshall County, will be closed once again to allow its elk population to rebound from depleting numbers.

A study of Minnesota's elk herds earlier this year found numbers had risen slightly compared to 2014, with 79 and 34 elk in separate herds in Kittson, but just 18 were found near Grygla, compared to 20 last year and 28 in 2013.

Hunting in Grygla has been prohibited by the DNR since 2012.

There will be five bulls-only licenses available in the Kittson County central zone (zone 20) and two bulls-only licenses in the northeast zone (zone 30). You can find a map of the areas here. The DNR will be offering a single landowner license in the central zone as well.

Applications for the licenses, which cost $287, can be made here.

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