Barbara Keller, formerly the cervid manager for the Missouri Department of Conservation, takes over Feb. 1 overseeing Minnesota's deer, elk and moose populations..

"Barbara has a strong background in all aspects of managing deer, moose and elk populations, which will be an asset here in Minnesota," said Paul Telander, Minnesota DNR wildlife chief. "We had an exceptional pool of candidates for this position and are looking forward to the skills and experience Barbara will bring to Minnesota's big game program."

Keller led Missouri's white-tailed deer and elk population management since 2016, including overseeing the state's chronic wasting disease program. Keller also set statewide deer regulations and helped supervise the development of regulations for what will be Missouri's first elk hunting season.

"I'm excited to join the DNR and get to work on all aspects of deer, elk and moose management," Keller said. "I'm especially looking forward to implementing the white-tailed deer management plan."

Keller is a graduate of Northland College in Ashland, Wis., earning a bachelor of science degree in natural resource management. She also holds a master's degree in wildlife science from New Mexico State University and a doctorate from the University of Missouri in wildlife science. She has researched bighorn sheep in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado; bison, pronghorn, elk, mule deer, and white-tailed deer in Custer State Park in South Dakota; and a restored elk population in the Missouri Ozarks.

Her pastimes include deer and turkey hunting, hiking, paddling and fishing.