DNR eyes expanding elk herd in NW Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants to expand a northwest Minnesota elk herd with officials hoping to turn the animals into more of a tourist attraction.

The DNR is proposing to increase the size of a Kittson county elk herd by 35-40 animals over the next five years.

DNR Northwest Region Wildlife Manager John Williams says elk are a strong tourist draw in other states.

However, some farmers in northwest Minnesota oppose the plan because elk damage crops and fences. The state has a program to compensate farmers for damage. Minnesota has had a limited elk hunting season since 2012.

"If you're one of the producers up there that have elk that come and visit your from time to time, you're leery of them and understandably so," Williams said. "Elk and agriculture don't mix well."

Public meetings on the Minnesota elk plan will be held Dec. 3 in New Brighton, Dec. 15 in Lancaster and December 16th in Grygla.

The DNR will accept public comments until Dec. 27.

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