Elk formerly occurred in central and southwestern Manitoba. They are now restricted to the Riding Mountain, Duck Mountain, Porcupine Hills, southern Interlake, Spruce Woods, Red Deer River, and the Swan River Valley areas. The Riding Mountain population normally accounts for 40 to 50% of total provincial elk numbers. An estimated 3,500 elk are found in the Riding Mountain area, 2,000 in the Duck Mountain area, 300 in the Porcupine Hills area, 100 at Red Deer Lake, 400 in the Spruce Woods area, 800 in the southern portions of the Interlake, and about 250 that have taken up residence in the Swan River Valley. Small satellite herds exist in the Pine River-Ethelbert, Kettle Hills, Piney, Oak-Plum Lakes, Souris River Bend WMA, Rock Lake, and Turtle Mountain areas. New satellite herds recently appeared in the Kettle Hills and Piney areas. Many of these satellite groups may never become established as they quickly go beyond the tolerance of local landowners if the herds expand and cause damage on private land.
Demand by hunters is far greater than the available elk hunting opportunities. Elk hunting licenses are available only through a limited entry draw system to residents of Manitoba. Seasons included rifle, archery, and landowner-only.
A comprehensive management strategy for the overall provincial population has been developed by Manitoba Conservation. Detailed harvest strategies for individual herds are currently being developed.