Hunters have until Friday, June 1, to apply for one of 23 elk licenses offered this year by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Elk licenses will be available in the traditional Grygla area. Licenses also will be available in Kittson County, which offers its traditional zone and a new zone in the northeast. Maps of all three hunt zones are available on the DNR website.
“A larger number of licenses are being offered this year to manage for the goal population levels identified in our elk management plan,” said Erik Thorson, acting DNR big game program coordinator. “A conservative bulls-only hunt is also being offered for the first time this year in a new area of northeastern Kittson County to target a population that also spends time in Manitoba. This limited hunt is designed to maintain this population’s wild behavior while still allowing the herd to grow.”
All applications must be filed electronically at any DNR license agent, the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul, online or by telephone at 888-665-4236. 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. An elk license costs $250. Each party will be authorized to harvest one elk. Applicants must choose one zone in which to apply; they cannot apply to hunt in more than one zone.
One license in the Grygla area and up to three in the Kittson County Central Elk Zone may be issued to qualified landowners in a preferential drawing. Licenses in the new Kittson County Northeast Elk Zone are only available through the general drawing this year. Unsuccessful landowner applications will 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 license.
Three seasons will be conducted in this year’s elk hunt. The first season in each zone runs from Saturday, Sept. 15, to Sunday, Sept. 23. The second season in the Grygla and Kittson County Central Elk Zones runs from Saturday, Dec. 1, to Sunday, Dec. 9. The third season in just the Kittson County Central Elk Zones runs from Saturday, Dec. 15, to Sunday, Dec. 23.
During the first season, two either-sex licenses will be available in Grygla (Zone 10), one either-sex license and five antlerless licenses will be available in Kittson County Central (Zone 20), and two bull-only licenses will be available in Kittson County Northeast (Zone 30). In the second season, three antlerless licenses will be available in Grygla, while one either-sex license and four antlerless licenses will be available in Kittson County Central. In the third season, one either-sex license and four antlerless licenses will be available in Kittson County Central.
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 opportunities, which means parties who choose to purchase a license will not be eligible to apply for future elk hunts.
DNR expects bull elk to be the preference of most hunters. To accommodate this, the first drawing will select hunters for each zone. A second drawing among selected hunters will determine what license a hunter may purchase and the season in which they can participate.
All successful applicants will be required to attend an orientation session prior to the hunt. Hunters also will be required to register their elk in their hunt area.
Some biological information relative to elk physical condition will be collected at the check station. Elk will be tested for chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis as part of Minnesota’s wild cervid disease surveillance program.
Hunters should be aware that all zones contain private land, so permission to hunt these lands should be obtained prior to purchasing a license.