MINNEAPOLIS - Elk once roamed most of Minnesota before hunters killed them off. Now the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe hopes to bring them back to northeastern Minnesota.

Tribal officials and other supporters say restoring them could open up new opportunities for nature tourism. They're looking at an area that's only a couple hours' drive north of the Twin Cities.

Success also could allow for hunting eventually. That's important to a tribe with a heritage of subsistence hunting, but non-Indians could get the chance to hunt the elk, too.

The University of Minnesota is seeking $300,000 from the Legislature to study the feasibility of restoring elk to southern St. Louis, Carlton and northern Pine counties.

Minnesota now has just 130 wild elk, all in the far northwest corner of the state.