If the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has its way, wild elk will soon be returned to portions of eastern Minnesota. The tribe petitioned the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to capture elk in the northwest portion of the state and place them in Carlton and St. Louis Counties in 2025.
“This is our formal proposal to bring elk back to the region,” Mike Schrage, biologist for the Fond du Lac Band biologist, told the Duluth News Tribute. “This is a proposal on what to do and how to do it. But we’re still going to be taking input from the public and government agencies on how we manage elk once they’re here. … We’re putting it out there for the Minnesota DNR and for the public to tell us what you think.”
If approved as submitted, the DNR would move 150 elk over several years to eventually create a sustainable population of 300 animals that would roam the Fond du Lac Reservation as well as the Fond du Lac State Forest.
The location is approximately 80 miles east of Wisconsin’s Clam Lake population, where the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources teamed up with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to successfully restore elk in 1995 and following years.