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Lansing — The state Natural Resources Commission has set elk hunting permit levels at twice the amount that were available in 2014 and 2015.

The Alpena News reports a decision last week by the commission allows 200 licenses for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Officials expect hunters to kill about 160 elk each year.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife outreach technician Katie Keen says Michigan’s elk management plan has a goal of a healthy population of 500 to 900 elk. She says the current estimate has the population at more than 1,300.

A wildlife conservation order amendment says the permits will be split between several hunting periods. Keen says hunters may apply for the elk permit lottery from May 1 to June 1.

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