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North Yellowstone herd
Is this the herd that migrates into montana?
If the herd is over objective does that mean more opportunities for hunters? Interesting that she says being over objective is a challenge.
Yes, it is the herd that migrates into Montana.
Over objective may or may not mean more opportunity for hunters, depending on if you are looking at antlered or antlerless hunting.
Seeing how the Montana Legislature thinks they are trained biologists and have messed with (lowered) the final "elk population objectives" in the Elk Management Plan, it comes as no surprise to hear this being described as "a challenge." Hunters want more elk. Politicians want fewer elk. The Legislature holds the purse strings and lawmaking authority. The Legislature has proven they are not hesitant to impose their views, however unscientific those views are, on wildlife management, particularly elk management in Montana.
This would be the former 200,000 north Yellowstone elk herd that went as low as 20,000 head after the re-introduction of wolves in Yellowstone N.P. Obviously, wildlife managers have made all new herd objectives as the elk co-habit the park with wolves and try to survive.
Getting pretty liberal with your zeros there. Historically before wolves, it was around 20,000, which by all accounts was probably too many. It was never 200,000! That is how many elk there is in all of Colorado!
Glad to see that allowing the hunting of wolves is having a positive affect!
Sounds like the wolf management in Montana is working!
Any chance of sportsmen having any say in the G&F’s herd objectives? Seems like 200,000 was a little high, but 20,000 is way low.
Yeah treeline,I agree ,that's a lot of eating elk.....I don't think so.
I assumed for years that population objectives would be close to maximum carrying capacity for the habitat balanced with other wildlife. Not so. There are many other factors and a herd that is "over objective" may be a lot smaller than what the carrying capacity of the habitat is.
There have never been 200,000 elk anywhere in Yellowstone. There are only around 100,000 in all of Wyoming.
At 20,000 (the population when wolves were introduced in '94) in the North Yellowstone herd, most reports said that was too many. That is why there used to be such high numbers of tags for that herd after they migrated out of the park.
Gotcha, Tx. Was kind of funning with Wylie. Gotta admit that 200K elk coming out of Yellowstone would be awesome, tho!
The article you posted is one of the best with respect to showing the direct impact on game species by wolves.
Interestingly, elk numbers should have increased substantially after the big fires that opened up so much of that area up there. Now, with the introduction of wolves, the numbers of moose and elk have been drastically reduced.
The numbers were at around 20,000 preintroduction and went down as you can see on the graph in the link. The graph only goes to 2012 and I think they bottomed out at around 2600-2800 if I remember right, but numbers are coming back up, I assume due to there being an over-abundance of predators due to an over-abundance of prey (which there no longer is).
It's true, there used to be too many elk in YSNP and it's because there was no hunting of the herd till they left the park. The rest of the herd (in Wyoming) is hunted in Sept and Oct and that wasn't happening in YSNP. Plus, a lot of those elk winter on private property and the people who pay for that, typical are paying for a mature bull so there were not enough cows killed and quite frankly, I think the F&G dept mistakenly allowed too many elk in that herd, although, managing elk with no Sept/Oct hunting season on public land can be a challenge.
It's a shame that the winter hunting around the park isn't what it used to be and I'm not defending wolf reintroduction, just pointing out some facts about how it used to be and why.
Ike times 2. Wolf management is a human name. There is no such thing in history, to base the future on. What's a given is Wolf numbers always will depend on prey populations. Elk herds with wolves present will be forever cyclic to some degree. And, the danger with wolves is they replace the need for management by hunter. This isn't Alaska, Canada, or Russia. This is the ever more crowded lower 48. Trying to manage for so many entities has never been attempted.
Without poison, they will never be completely removed. With the knowledge of that today making it taboo, the gal from the F&G saying it was a "difficult" situation is exactly right. God Bless men
Humans need to be the primary management tool for both species in order to sustain long term success for either.
You could have fooled me. I hunted Mill Creek Valley this past September and elk were far and few between. And the few elk I did get into were 5-6 miles or more back from the trailheads. Talking to the goat hunters in there, they all said they saw more goats than elk. And...I spoke to Linda Loveless in depth about elk in that area before the hunt and she said the population was up and I should have a good hunt in the areas she recommended.
Fast forward to the hunt, after days of seeing and hearing nothing I went up the road to the rangers station to talk to them and they looked at me cross eyed when I said I was elk hunting there....they said the elk had been destroyed by wolves all around there and the grizzlies weren’t helping either. Hoping Idaho this fall will be a much better Hunt!
Interestingly, the biologist making the statement that elk numbers are “over objective” is focused on canines. Maybe there are ulterior motives to increase canines??? Just askin’
Like WV said above, Traps ans poison are the only way to control wolves. History has proven that over 100yrs ago. Hunting them on foot is nothing more than sport. There was a war on wolves for a reason back then, and the wolf hasn't changed. Control them or else. If we don't learn from history we are doomed to repeat it. I don't know what they are teaching in college nowadays but it sure isn't history. (or economics)
Montana actually has quite a bit of trapping going on, Idaho too. As a result, both states have done a fairly decent job of controlling wolves.
Yellowstone needed the wolves. Do some research and you can find photos from about the '30s, 80's and recently showing the rivers and the brush and timber along them. You'll see how much damage the elk were doing.
There were people saying the disappearing Quakies were natural evolution. Now that the elk have been controlled the Quakies have been returning.
Now we just have to figure out how to get the bison reduced.
LKH, I think you are blaming fire suppression issues on the elk - and giving credit for recovery of those ecosystems that burned out in the big fire and are now coming back through natural session to wolves.
LKH, you’re right on about the bison! We busted there 2 years ago and at first it was, “oh cool, a bison”! It wasn’t long before it turned to, “if I see another bison...”!!! Ha ha!
No, I'm not. The fire suppression had little effect on the Quakies. When Yellowstone burned it was not a blanket burn. There were significant areas that didn't burn and many of those were the watershed areas close to the streams.
There were far too many elk in Yellowstone. The wolves solved it and were the only option since it's 100% certain that we were never going to be allowed to hunt there.
That's total BS to say that herd is over objective. Complete joke. They are not managing for elk right now. It's all coming from Washington.
Treeline, from what I know from studying on this, I'm sure a lot of biologist in the west want the wolf. It makes their job easier. They know no property lines and hunt where they want. The same landowner that won't allow elk hunting by a human, can't legally kick the wolf off for doing it. Unless it's in season and they have a tag to shoot it. So, it becomes hard to manage migrating prey species with hunters when they are truly only vulnerable and, off limits on private grounds.
Also, never has this been attempted. Never has large predators seen top priority on management schemes that present such a potential for human conflict. It was no secret the wolves would wreck havoc on herds of elk from Yellowstone west. Throw in other predator toll's and you get what we got. The uproar from hunters and concerned citizens were easy to label as uneducated and hate filled. Even though everyone knew that it would stabilize in time. What was missing was a guideline to follow to achieve a balance all entity's could live with. So, biologist also get to pound their chests and boast of what they have accomplished by successfully mending all these interests together.
God Bless men
I have to agree with SBH about the being "over objective". I don't know how they come up with their objective, but when I hiked around the mountains north of Yellowstone, it looked like perfect country for elk, but very little sign of elk. Maybe there are more elk in the park than they want, or more on private property than they want, but there didn't seem to be much sign of them on the public land that I was on.
LKH, I guess it sounds like there were too many elk. They obviously ain't stupid and will pile into any area that they are not getting shot.
Absolute crying shame that the NPS is so anti-human-hunting. Wonder what Teddy would have thought of all this...
^^^^^^ this^^^^^^^. Except it isn't just the NPS.
Egads!! I just looked back on this subject...good catch David...I did sure add one too many zeros.....no need to exaggerate as the actual correct numbers are pathetic enough....I gladly stand corrected. P.S. don't tell my wife I made a mistake, she will never believe it !!....
The wolf issue is now simmering in Colorado. Colorado is not Yellowstone. If reintroduction is allowed, the consequences for big game populations and livestock will be dire.