Elk of Itasca is now roaming free in northwestern Minnesota today and this was the result of a 1900’s program at Itasca State Park to reintroduce the species to the state.
Elk were abundant before and during the early years of European settlement in Minnesota but they were hunted down nearly to extinction in the 1900s.
The last Elk that was killed in Minnesota was in 1908. In 1913, a herd of elk was reintroduced into the wild at Itasca State Park. They were protected and enclosed with an 8-foot woven fence. By 1937, the elk population increased to 40 and by 1940, the population was estimated to be 100.
Right now, though they are no longer contained in a protective barrier, the population is still being monitored and each elk have been radio-collared to help research teams to monitor the herd.