Elk numbers continue to decline in Minnesota. An aerial survey by the Department of Natural Resources counted 79 elk among three different herds. That number is down from 83 in 2016 and 131 in 2015.
“The variability we’re seeing in these numbers year to year is due mainly to the movement of the Caribou-Vita herd that travels back and forth across the Minnesota-Manitoba border,” said John Williams, DNR northwest region wildlife manager. “However, we are concerned about declining numbers of elk in the Grygla herd in Marshall County. This herd hasn’t been hunted since 2012, yet the population continues to trend downward.”
The DNR, in conjunction with Minnesota State University-Mankato, placed radio collars on 20 elk in 2016 as part of a research project to monitor elk movements and habitat use. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is assisting with funding.