Elk Hunt in 2004

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For the first time since 1998, Minnesota will offer an opportunity for big game hunters to harvest elk this fall. Five elk permits will be offered through a lottery drawing in the primary elk hunt zone around Grygla.

The intent of the hunt is to reduce the elk population from the present level of 35 to the goal of 30. One of the five permits will be for a legal antlered bull, while the remaining four permits will allow the harvest of antlerless elk only. In Minnesota, a legal antlered bull is defined as a male animal with at least one 10-inch antler.

Hunters may apply individually or in parties of two. A nonrefundable application fee of $10 per hunter must accompany applications. Successful applicants will be notified by mail. They must purchase an elk license for $250. Each party will be authorized to harvest one elk.

Applications may be made on the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) elk application form or an 8.5-inch by 11-inch sheet of paper. Applications and instructions can be obtained online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/elk/index.html, at any area or regional DNR wildlife office, or by calling toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367). Applications submitted in writing must include the hunter's name and address, drivers license number, Social Security number, daytime phone number and signature. To apply, a hunter must be 16-years-old by Sept. 18.

Applications should be mailed to Elk Hunt, DNR Regional Wildlife Office, 2115 Birchmont Beach Road NE, Bemidji, MN 56601. Applications must be postmarked by Friday, July 16.

One of the five licenses will be issued in a preferential drawing to qualified landowners within the elk zone. The drawing for this license will occur first. Unsuccessful landowner applications will then be added to the general drawing. Four more applicants will then be selected in a general drawing for a total of five successful parties.

From this pool of five successful parties, a second drawing will take place to determine which party will receive the bull license.

The remaining parties will be issued antlerless licenses. Alternates will be selected in case successful parties opt not to purchase their permit. If no qualified landowners apply, all five licenses will be drawn from the general pool of applicants.

The hunt is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which means parties that choose to purchase their license will not be allowed to apply for future elk hunts. The 2004 bull elk hunt will be held from Sept. 18-26. The antlerless elk hunt will be held from Nov. 20-28. All successful applicants will be required to attend an orientation session at Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area headquarters prior to the hunt.

They will be required to register at this location any elk harvested. Some biological information relative to elk physical condition will be collected at the check station and elk will be tested for chronic wasting disease as part of Minnesota's chronic wasting disease surveillance program.