News release: DNR to survey elk by airplane in northwest Minnesota

January 31, 2022


The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will conduct aerial elk surveys beginning the first week of February in the Kittson County and Grygla elk ranges in northwestern Minnesota. The surveys are conducted annually during the winter, weather permitting.

Aerial survey information is used to monitor elk populations and help the DNR make decisions about future elk harvest regulations.

“We currently have sufficient snow cover to start our elk surveys,” said Doug Franke, Thief River Falls area wildlife supervisor and elk survey coordinator. “Our goal is to conduct the surveys during the first two weeks of February.”

DNR pilots will fly surveys during daylight hours at an altitude of approximately 200 to 300 feet.

The DNR is also asking for help from those who seen elk recently in their area. People are encouraged to contact their local DNR office with sighting information:

  • Karlstad area wildlife office, 218-436-2427
  • Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area, 218-222-3747
  • Thief River Falls area wildlife office, 218-219-8587

People can also document observations using the new elk sightings tool on the DNR website.