The latest news from the DNR includes new burning restrictions, honoring longtime DNR safety instructors and more, including applications for Minnesota’s elk hunt and an aerial survey on sandhill cranes, the latter of which are included below. Find the rest at www.mndnr.gov.
Apply now for Minnesota elk hunt
Hunters have until June 14 to apply for one of 23 elk licenses offered this year by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The licenses will be available in Kittson County’s central and northeast zones. The Grygla area will be closed to enable that area’s elk population to rebuild to goal levels.
“The number of hunting licenses available reflects the goals of the state’s elk management plan,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “That plan aims to balance the interest of hunters, landowners and others.”
McInenly said aerial surveys conducted during the winter in the Grygla area identified 28 elk, slightly below the pre-calving goal range of 30-38 animals. She said this year’s closure is likely to return the herd to goal range.
Hunters interested in applying for a license can find maps of the two hunting zones and other pertinent information on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/elk.
This year’s hunt will provide increased opportunities in Kittson County, with two early seasons and two late seasons. The first season, which will be held in both zones, runs from Saturday, Sept. 14, to Sunday, Sept. 22 (Season A). The second, third, and fourth seasons will be held only in the Kittson County Central Elk Zone. They will run from Saturday, Sept. 28, to Sunday, Oct. 6 (Season B), Saturday, Dec. 7, to Sunday, Dec. 15 (Season C), and Saturday, Jan. 11, to Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014 (Season D).
All applications must be filed electronically at any DNR license agent, the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul, www.mndnr.gov or by telephone at 888-665-4236. Hunters may apply individually or in parties of two. There is a nonrefundable application fee of $4 per hunter. License cost is $287. Landowner licenses will be available in each season in the Kittson County Central Elk Zone but are not available in the Kittson County Northeast Elk Zone.
DNR to conduct aerial sandhill crane survey in northwestern Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) plans to start an aerial survey of sandhill cranes, Monday, May 13, in an area from Crookston, north through Thief River Falls to the Canadian border.
The survey will count both nesting pairs and nonbreeding cranes in the Minnesota hunting zone to better monitor breeding populations. It’s timed to count the cranes while most are incubating eggs in their nests.
Because the gray cranes are difficult to see, researchers will use the DNR aviation program helicopter, which allows them to fly at a low level. Flights, which will consist of four-kilometer-square plots, should be completed within one or two weeks.
The survey, funded jointly by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the DNR, will continue for two years.
For more information on sandhill cranes, go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/birds/sandhillcrane.html.
The sandhill crane hunting zone can be found in the waterfowl hunting regulations at www.dnr.state.mn.us/regulations/hunting/index.html.