ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — An annual population survey shows a slight increase in northwestern Minnesota’s elk population.

The Department of Natural Resources said Monday the population is estimated at 97, compared with 79 last winter and 83 in 2016.

Area wildlife supervisor Doug Franke says biologists remain concerned about the herd near Grygla in Marshall County, where observers counted 15 elk. That’s down from 17 last year and 21 in 2016, even though the herd hasn’t been hunted since 2012. The DNR’s goal for Grygla herd is 30 to 38 elk.

Observers counted 75 elk in another herd, near Lancaster in Kittson County, compared with 61 last winter and 21 in 2016. The herd goal is 50 to 60.

Minnesota’s largest elk herd ranges across the border with Manitoba and is harder to count.

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