MONTGOMERY, Minn. — On top of a hill, slightly outside of Montgomery, a farm sits. The farm got its name, Turek’s Arctic Hillcrest, from the blistering cold winds that can blow during a January morning.
However, the elk that occupy that farm have no complaints.
Co-owned by Darrell Turek and Shelia Krukowski, the farm has been in the Turek name for more than a century, focusing on dairy and crops.
Turek continues to harvest crops, but didn’t continue the dairy lifestyle. Nor did he continue raising whitetail deer, something his father started more than 25 years ago.
The couple raised the deer for a while as well, but didn’t find it to be enjoyable. Turek, though, did have an interest in raising elk. So he sold the whitetails and purchased two elk from a Missouri farm, Agri News reported.
The elk, now numbering 250, are “docile” animals, according to the couple. They’re relaxed, Turek and Krukowski said, because of the constant human attention they receive.
Turek and Krukowski enter the pens every day. Even their 3-year-old daughter feeds the elk – she calls them “her boys” – with her pink bucket.
Seeing the animals is thrilling, according to Turek, who said elk are naturally curious animals.
“People are just amazed when they come down and look at the group of bulls that we’re letting go to hard antler,” Turek said. “They really love seeing that.”
Newborn elk will weigh about 35 pounds. A cow can weigh about 500 pounds and be about 6-1/2 feet from nose to tail, and a bull can weigh 700 pounds, while stretching 8 feet from nose to tail.
Each year, Turek and Krukowski slaughter 10 to 20 elk, depending on demand. They sell a variety of meat products and velvet pills. Their products can be purchased directly from them by phone or email. Odenthall Meats in New Prague and Traxler’s Hunting Preserve in Le Center also sell the meat.
While government-mandated testing and paperwork can be hectic, the couple says the connection with the elk makes it worth it.