DULUTH -- Minnesota hunters have until June 11 to apply for one of 30 northwestern Minnesota elk hunting licenses offered this year by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

There will be four staggered seasons from late August to mid-October and, similar to last year, more opportunities for hunters to harvest antlerless elk.

Hunters can choose to apply for one of three license options — a license for a bull elk; a license for an antlerless elk, which can be a female or a young male; or a license for either a bull or antlerless elk.

The dates for the 2021 Minnesota elk season are:

  • Aug. 28, to Sept. 5: Five antlerless tags and two either-sex tags will be available in the Kittson central (zone 20) zone.

  • Sept. 11, to Sept. 19: Five antlerless tags and two either-sex tags will be available in the Kittson central (zone 20) zone and two bull-only tags will be available in the Kittson northeast (zone 30) zone.

  • Sept. 25, to Oct. 3: Five antlerless tags and two either-sex tags will be available in the Kittson central (zone 20) zone.

  • Oct. 9, to Oct. 17: Five antlerless tags and two either-sex tags will be available in the Kittson central (zone 20) zone.

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There are currently three recognized elk herds in northwestern Minnesota: Grygla, Kittson Central and Kittson Northeast, which is also referred to as Caribou-Vita. The Grygla and the Caribou-Vita herds remain below their population goals, which is why the Grygla-area elk zone remains closed to hunting and only two bull-only licenses are available for the Caribou-Vita zone. The limited bulls-only season is held to keep the Caribou-Vita herd wary of human presence and development.

The Kittson Central herd is predicted to be above goal, providing the majority of this year’s hunting opportunities. Minnesota’s elk management plan sets a population goal range for each of the three herds. Five licenses are reserved for applicants who have unsuccessfully applied for at least 10 years and five licenses are reserved for individuals who meet landowner requirements.

Hunters must select the type of elk license they are applying for: bull-only (two licenses available), either-sex (eight licenses available) or antlerless-only (20 licenses available), in addition to the zone and season.

For more information or to apply for an elk permit go to dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/elk/index.html or call 888-665-4236. There is a nonrefundable application fee of $5 per hunter.

Successful hunters will need to present their animal within 24 hours of harvest for registration and collection of biological samples to screen for diseases or other health-related issues.