Tricounty News

Minnesota elk hunt offers more permits

In an effort to manage increasing elk populations, more elk hunting permits will be available in 2008 in the traditional primary elk zone near Grygla and new permits will be offered in Kittson County, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). "Elk populations have increased significantly and we've observed increasing conflict because of elk depredation, so the number of permits available near Grygla has been increased and a new hunt has been authorized in Kittson County," said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator. Hunters have until Friday, July 18, to apply for one of 23 elk permits. In total, 12 permits (two either-sex and 10 antlerless) will be offered in the Grygla Zone and 11 permits (one either-sex and 10 antlerless) will be offered in the Kittson County Zone in the Lancaster vicinity. Maps of the two hunt zones can be found at mndnr.gov/hunting/elk. A total of four licenses (two in Grygla and two in Kittson County) will be issued to qualified landowners in the respective elk zones in a landowner preference drawing for those who are owners or tenants of at least 160 acres of agricultural or grazing land in the zone. Unsuccessful landowner applications will then be added to the general drawing, from which the remaining applicants will be selected. Alternates will be selected in case successful parties opt not to purchase a permit. In total, there will be three seasons in each zone and they are divided as follows: Sept. 13-21: two either-sex licenses in Grygla, one either-sex and two antlerless licenses in Kittson County; Nov. 22-30: five antlerless licenses in Grygla, four antlerless licenses in Kittson County; and Dec. 6-14: five antlerless licenses in Grygla, four antlerless licenses in Kittson County. Applications may be made at any of the 1,800 statewide locations where hunting and fishing licenses are sold. Applications are also available from the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul. Paper applications will not be accepted. Hunters may apply individually or in parties of two. There is a non-refundable application fee of $10 per hunter. Successful applicants will be notified by mail and must purchase an elk license for $250. Each party will be authorized to harvest one elk. If no qualified landowners apply, all licenses will be drawn from the general pool of applicants. In Minnesota, elk hunts are considered once in a lifetime, which means parties that choose to purchase their license, will not be eligible to apply for future elk hunts. Applicants interested in the Grygla hunt should select Area 10 while applicants choosing Kittson County should select Area 20. "The early hunt is timed to coincide with the elk rut and hunters will have a good opportunity to try calling a bull," Cornicelli said. "During the later seasons, elk should be congregated in larger groups with snow on the ground, making tracking and trailing easier." Because the majority of interest will be for the bull licenses, DNR is having hunters apply for only their preferred area and a second random drawing will determine licenses and seasons. All successful applicants will be required to attend an orientation session at Thief Lake WMA headquarters prior to the hunt and will be required to register any elk harvested at this location. Some biological information relative to elk physical condition will be collected at the check station and elk will be tested for chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis as part of Minnesota's wild cervid surveillance program. Hunters should be aware that both zones are comprised mostly of private land and permission should be obtained prior to purchasing their permit.