The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has hired Leslie McInenly as big game program leader. She will have the lead responsibility for managing deer, elk and moose seasons and populations.

For the past six years, McInenly has been on the staff of the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, a state board charged with providing forest resource policy advice to the governor and Legislature, coordinating cross-ownership landscape-level forest management planning, and developing best management practices for forest management. Prior to that, she spent four years in Alberta working as a collaborator on the Central East Slopes Elk Study, a project established to evaluate elk translocation efforts and habitat use. As part of the study, McInenly also worked with provincial biologists to improve elk population estimates in Alberta.

“We are excited to have Leslie join our wildlife management team,” said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife population and regulation program manager. “Her knowledge of Minnesota’s forests and forest management is particularly relevant, as maintaining and strengthening the link between population management and habitat management is a real focus of the section of wildlife.”

The primary responsibilities of the big game program leader are to manage deer, moose, and elk seasons, and work with stakeholders to modify and improve seasons and regulations to address the expectations of a diverse public.

McInenly earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, majoring in wildlife management and biology. Her master’s degree thesis focused on the influence of changing elk migratory patterns on native prairie biodiversity and nutrient cycling.  She also worked on range of game and nongame species projects in several states before working in Alberta.

Through her experience working in private, public, and nonprofit sectors, McInenly has demonstrated the ability to work and communicate with a diversity of stakeholders, colleagues and clients, Merchant said.

McInenly assumes her new duties on Nov. 15. She grew up in the St. Croix River Valley and resides with her family in Stillwater.

Logo courtesy Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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