Minnesota's wild elk population rises slightly to an estimated 131 in NW corner of state

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota — Minnesota's wild elk population has risen slightly to an estimated 131 animals in three herds that roam the northwest corner of the state.

The annual population survey from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources counted 79 elk in Minnesota's largest herd, which migrates between northern Kittson County and Manitoba. That's up from 51 elk counted last year. The full size of the herd on both sides of the border hasn't been determined.

Spotters counted 34 elk in a herd near Lancaster in Kittson County, compared with 37 in 2014.

But they counted just 18 in the herd near Grygla in Marshall County, down from 20 last year and 28 in 2013. John Williams, the DNR's northwest regional wildlife manager, says that's troubling because that herd hasn't been hunted since 2012.

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