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Nate McVey

MN Elk in Kittson County

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Nate McVey

Many of you have seen my posts campaigning for the RMEF and some of you have donated your time and money to this great organization. Here is a picture of a bull taken in Kittson County earlier this week. You can bet the RMEF's fundraising efforts have played a large part in the reintroduction to the elk in MN. Thanks to all that helped and continue to help reestablish this herd.

MNElk2.jpg

MNElk1.jpg

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Catfishunter

I have seen the herd before, kept looking for a fence around.

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hobbydog

I would sat The Nature Conservancy as well as local landowners through their acceptance of the herd have done way more for the re-emergence of elk in eastern Kittson County than RMEF could only dream of. You really have me stumped though as to where this pic was taken. I thought I knew every old building in the eastern part of the county. This has to be south of Beeches Lake...... maybe near Lake Bronson?

Here is one taken a few years back.

elk.jpg

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Northlander

Shiner please e-mail me those pics. I want to use 1 for a screen saver. That old building looks real neat. I cant tel very much from what you posted but I have a feeling its going to be really cool looking. Thanks Man!

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elevatorguy

Our hunting land is in the edge of Beaches and I have yet to see elk in the area but my dad has seen a bull cross the road on his way into Lancaster. And this was 2 years ago I believe. And actually we have heard a few locals actually complain about the damage they are causing. They have also said that the herd tends to stick between Lancaster and Lake Bronson. This is so awesome to have elk up there and it will be neat to have some elk go by us while we are on our stands.

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Surface Tension

Kudos to The Nature Conservancy, RMEF and local landowners.

Sartell, MN. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation announced it will fund 11 new conservation projects in 2006 to protect and enhance habitat in Minnesota.

The Elk Foundation recently awarded over $67,000 in grant funding for habitat protection and stewardship, wildlife management, and conservation education projects across Minnesota in 2006.

“Funding for these grants comes from the proceeds of our Big Game Banquets and other fundraising conducted within Minnesota,” said Ralph Cinfio, Senior Regional Director for the Elk Foundation’s Great Lakes Region. The international wildlife conservation group has more than 180 volunteers and 4,000 members statewide.

The Elk Foundation and its partners have contributed over $749,000 to complete 53 conservation projects in Minnesota since the organization began in 1984. These conservation efforts have had a major impact on elk and other wildlife habitat throughout the state, permanently protecting and enhancing more than 9,100 acres.

Among the top conservation projects the Elk Foundation recently funded in Minnesota are the following:

Tallgrass Aspen Parkland Acquisition (Kittson County) – An additional contribution to a 2005 land acquisition. Last year, the Elk Foundation helped The Nature Conservancy acquire lands in northwestern Minnesota, conserving 863 acres adjacent to the Wallace C. Dayton Conservation and Wildlife Area. The property is located in the heart of the Tallgrass Aspen Parkland, a landscape that spans 2,170,000 acres along the border between northwest Minnesota and southeast Manitoba. Large, intact expanses of native grasslands, wetlands and a series of meadows punctuate the property. Because of its relatively undisturbed character, and the presence of elk, moose, and wolf populations, the Tallgrass Prairie Parkland provides the best opportunity in the Great Plains for restoring a large herbivore/carnivore prairie system. The property is open to the public for a variety of uses, including hunting, hiking and bird watching.

Grygla and Wapiti Wildlife Management Areas Brush Mowing #2 (Beltrami County) - Mow 120 acres of brush to curtail woody encroachment into openings in the area most heavily used by elk. Maintaining these openings will provide the necessary mix of elk habitat types.

Karlstad Wildlife Area Aspen and Brush Treatment #4 (Kittson County) – Mechanically treat 225-acres of prairie-brush prairie habitats where the native prairies have been invaded by dense, thick stands of young aspen. These areas are located within or directly adjacent to the current elk range within the Tallgrass Aspen Parklands region of northwest Minnesota.

Minnesota 2006 Becoming an Outdoors-Family Workshop (Statewide) – Fund family workshop for adults and children ages eight and older. Workshop provides families the opportunity to learn outdoor skills together so they are equipped with the knowledge and desire to make outdoor recreation a regular part of their family lifestyle. One third of the programming is dedicated to each of the following: hunting, fishing and outdoor skills.

Tallgrass Aspen Parkland Visitor Promotion (Statewide) – Production of an Internet article and poster campaign to encourage people to visit Minnesota's Tallgrass Aspen Parkland and promote public awareness and appreciation for the state's elk. The article initially appeared in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' official magazine. The web-enhanced version of this article includes an extended story documenting a trip to observe elk bugling on the Caribou Wildlife Management Area, a downloadable map, video of bugling elk and a slide show of photos from renowned nature photographer Layne Kennedy. Posters promoting the parkland will also be displayed in area outdoor recreation stores including REI, Midwest Mountaineering and Patagonia.

“We’re very proud of the efforts of our volunteers to raise the dollars necessary to get these projects accomplished,” Cinfio said. “And now in addition to raising funds at our big game banquets, we are able to restrict philanthropic gifts for use in Minnesota through the Elk Foundation’s new Great Lakes Conservation Initiative. All of us are proud that we are able to make these positive impacts in our own state, and we’re excited about the future of elk and other wildlife in Minnesota.”

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Missoula, Mont., the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. The Elk Foundation and its partners have permanently protected or enhanced more than 4.7 million acres, a land area nearly twice as large as Yellowstone National Park. More than 450,000 acres with limited or no public access are now open for hunting, fishing and other recreation. The Elk Foundation has more than 160,000 members and 11,000 active volunteers. To help protect wild elk country or learn more about the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, visit www.elkfoundation.org or call 800-CALL-ELK

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Nate McVey

Thanks for posting that ST. The Nature Conservancy, landowners, the RMEF and the MN DNR havea all worked very hard to secure elk habitat and land in general for the improvment of wildlife. Grouse, whitetail, pheasant, elk, moose, etc. have all benefited from the joint partnerships of the above agencies.

Wild Elk in Minnesota - an Update

Prior to European settlement, elk were found across most of Minnesota. The northeastern part of the State was the only area without elk populations (this was caribou country). Settlement pressures quickly eliminated elk from much of their range, and by the turn of the century elk were limited to the northwestern corner of the State. The last verified sighting of native elk in Minnesota took place in 1932, in the Northwest Angle.

Interest in protecting and restoring elk populations in Minnesota began early on. Elk were first protected in 1893. By 1913, the State Legislature appropriated $5000 for elk reintroduction. During the winters of 1914-15, elk were captured in and near Yellowstone Park, and from a private herd in Ramsey County, and moved to an enclosure in Itasca State Park. This population was to serve as a source herd for transplants. An unsuccessful transplant was attempted in 1929 in the Stony Ranger District. In 1935, the remaining 27 elk were released into the area northeast of the current range of the Grygla herd. This is an area where native elk had been observed in previous decades.

The new population flourished, and moved southwest into an area where timber, brush and marsh habitats were interspersed with private agricultural lands. This brought the elk into conflict with the human residents of the area when it was found that the elk had an affinity for alfalfa, sunflowers, and other agricultural crops. Depredation complaints were first documented in 1939, and grew progressively worse until 1949, when shortstop feeding was attempted. Conflicts continued until 1985, when legislation was passed mandating the removal of elk from a four county area by September of 1985. A total of 10 elk were removed from the population before legal action halted the removal project.

In 1987, new legislation was passed that rescinded the removal order and provided for elk damage payments, elk hunting seasons, and required a new management plan. The revised plan incorporated input from all facets of the public, including both agricultural interests and elk proponents. The management plan that is now in place calls for using closely controlled public hunting to keep the pre-calving population of the Grygla herd between 20-30 animals so long as they stay in their current range. Hunts have been held in 1987, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2004 and 2005, removing a total of 18 elk (11 cows and 7 bulls) from this population to keep that herd at target levels. The management plan does contain a provision to allow this herd to build to higher levels if they can be persuaded to use an adjacent area to the east, where the majority of the land is in public ownership and conflicts with agricultural interests would be minimized.

Starting in about 1980, a second herd of elk moved into the area along the Minnesota/Manitoba border in Kittson County. Initially, these elk summered in Minnesota and wintered in Manitoba. In recent years some of this herd has taken to living year-round in Minnesota. Agriculture in this area is focused more on the pasturing of beef cattle, and conflicts have been minimal on the Minnesota side of the border. This herd currently numbers at least 70 animals. This herd is thought to have originated from animals in Manitoba.

A variety of management efforts for elk have been undertaken by the DNR- Division of Wildlife at Thief Lake. A total of 84 acres of foodplots are planted on the Grygla WMA (core of the Grygla elk herd range) annually with elk as the targeted beneficiary. Alfalfa/clover mixes, sunflowers, oats, buckwheat and winter wheat are all grown to sustain elk and attract them away from private crops. Hay is placed in key areas on State land during severe winters to lure elk away from conflict areas into more suitable habitats. New foodplots have been established on the Wapiti WMA (an adjacent area to the east in the expanded elk range), and in Skull Lake WMA and on Nature Conservancy property in the range of the border herd. Elk populations are monitored on the ground throughout the year, and via aerial surveys in the winter. Controlled hunts are held when necessary to achieve population goals. Other management activities in this area which benefit elk and a variety of other wildlife include prescribed burning and brushland shearing, along with an aggressive timber harvest program coordinated with the Division of Forestry to keep a significant proportion of the habitat in early successional stages of aspen.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) has had a key role in the management of Minnesota’s elk. RMEF stepped in to purchase a key 80 acre parcel in the core of the elk range (the Kvilhaug property) in 1989, and donated the property to the DNR - Division of Wildlife to become part of the Grygla WMA. Half of the foodplots planted on the Grygla WMA are located on this parcel. The RMEF cost shared with the DNR in the establishment of new foodplots in the Wapiti WMA, and has cost shared the planting of foodplots in the ranges of both the Grygla and Kittson County herds. RMEF has also participated in the prescribed burn program by underwriting the costs of aerial ignition in large burns in the elk range. They have also been a key player in funding winter aerial elk surveys for both herd units in Minnesota.

What does the future hold for elk in Minnesota? We look to maintain the Grygla herd at its current population, using hunts when necessary to accomplish this goal. If possible, we hope to entice at least some of this herd to take up year-round residence in the WMAs to the east, where we can build the population to higher levels. The border population has shown itself to be self sufficient, and may be capable of expanding. There are no current plans for active transplants elsewhere in Minnesota, but the elk have shown themselves to be adept at finding new homes for themselves when a window of opportunity presents itself.

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DeathRoe

Well, there goes the deer herd. Say it with me now, C to the W to the D!

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Nate McVey

Here's a picture of a Lancaster bull taken yesterday.

LancasterBull.jpg

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elevatorguy

Hey Shiner where are you getting those pics? I was just in Lancaster last weekend.

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Nate McVey

They're from a RMEF member up there.

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elevatorguy

I see. That is so cool and it will be soon we might just see them at our land. Like I said before I have yet to see one but my dad has. Do you know which way out of Lancaster they are?

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Tom Linderholm

Pretty sweet pics. Thanks Nate.

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stalkhunter

I have seen trail cam pictures of this elk only 5 miles from Karlstad...

Stalkhunter

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