Fond du Lac Band seeks elk renaissance

North American Elk (PHOTO: nosha, Flickr Creative Commons license).

North American Elk (PHOTO: nosha, Flickr Creative Commons license).

The Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwa has announced plans to restore the North American Elk to Northeastern Minnesota. Stephanie Hemphill wrote a fine story on the matter for MinnPost:

Advocates say bringing the native animals back will increase diversity, encourage wildlife tourism, provide hunting opportunities, and restore the ecosystem more closely to what it was before the massive disruptions of white settlement. But elk will face some challenges fitting into Minnesota’s modern landscape.

“Human acceptance will be the biggest challenge,” said Bill Berg, a retired Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife research biologist.

What’s he mean? Well, one small herd in Northwestern Minnesota caused the following mayhem, again quoted from Hemphill’s story:

The small elk herd, now down to about 30 animals, frequently ravages crops in the fields, destroys hay supplies, crashes through fences, and generally makes farmers’ lives miserable.

It doesn’t always go that way, but let’s just say that elk are a little more in your face than the white tail deer we see more often.

Regardless, restoring elk to Northeastern Minnesota would be a fascinating accomplishment. I’d be willing to deal with elk incursions if I got to see them feeding across the fields in morning fog.


  1. Elk in NE MN would be fantastic. I don’t think we have enough farms up here to worry that they would be a menace to farmers. Might give the wolves something else to fill up on other than our dwindling moose population.

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