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Article on Elk Near Vail
Saw this on another forum. Not sure I've seen it on here but it should be circulated as much as possible.
Interesting. I wonder how this squares with the elk in Estes Park and RMNP who thrive in conditions where they are exposed to human presence and activity 24/7/365? Is it simply a matter of elk being conditioned, nor not conditioned, to the constant presence and activity of man?
I used to hunt that area referenced in the article. The amount of people, hunters and hikers, is insane.. I believe mostly cause its easily accesable from I70 and close to the Dirty D. I would often run into guys that were 'just up for the day to hunt' b/c its so close to Denver. Shrine Pass for instance, is loaded with hikers, ATV's and campers every weekend into the fall. As well as Camp Hale.. I was hunting a number of years go during second rifle and spotted some elk in a valley i was making a play on and all of a sudden they jumped up and took off i knew it wasnt me b/c the wind was right and i was at least 1000 yrds away moving slow.. low and behold it was a couple of cross county skiers moving right up the valley toward the elk.. unbelievable. Its like that all year round in those areas, hikers, ultra marathon runners (training at night too), mountian bikers, ATV's, snowmobiles, back country skiers, cross country skiers.. all year non stop.. and alot of it in the winter activities takes place on the wintering and calving grounds, so the elk never get a rest.. The county and forest service should make these places 'safe havens' without recreators but won't because they think it will impact their tourist revenue.. and it might but so what.
GMU 34 up in the flattops too.......way busy compared to back in the 1980's and 90's and they were logging it back then.
I also use to hunt this area. I moved on to greener pastures but it certainly seems there are a lot less elk in the area than when I first started hunting it.
Same thing around Aspen - Roaring Fork Valley - elk herd has plummeted in the last 15 years. Research points to same thing Vial article found.
And yet the response is to reduce elk tags for archery hunters. No talk of fixing the problem.
Jordan, it sounds like they do take some measures to isolate the elk during calving Season in Estes Park, but as you mentioned, I think these elk do not see humans as a "predator", so it's less stressful to the lactating cows.
I copied this from an Estes Park Site:
"The elk calving season takes place in April and May of each year. During this time, female elk, or cows, become irritable and highly protective of their young calves. Though they may look harmless, like the bull elk during the rut, cows are extremely dangerous during calving season.
Marked calving areas should be avoided. Caution should be exercised at all times during calving season. “Every day our dispatch center receives numerous calls for police officers to respond to elk issues around Town, and the vast majority of issues are caused by people,” commented Estes Park Police Chief Wes Kufeld. He explained that the most common reports to dispatch are people getting too close to the elk and “elk jams,” caused when drivers park their vehicles in the way of traffic in order to watch the elk. Kufeld continued, “Safety should be first on the minds of elk-viewers, so they can have a great experience.”
Add to the explosion of people in Eagle County that CPW was hitting that herd extremely hard with public land rifle elk tags in September and private land tags from August 15 (before archery) all the way through January,
This was discussed a lot on the CO forum earlier.
CPw finally cut back on the rifle slaughtering and also made it bull only for Archery.
One thing that is overlooked and not mentioned in any news articles (only whispered at CPw meetings), both there and in SW CO where the calf recruitment has plummeted, is the huge impact on elk by the bear and lion populations.
The uninformed masses seem to think that we need even more predators.
Wait till the truck loads of wolves show up....
The comparison to the Estes Park herd isn't a good one, since that herd is protected in the RMNP. Humans are just an annoyance to that herd, not a feared predator.
The Vail article describes what has been happening in all of Colorado for years. Our state's human population has quadrupled in my lifetime. And NR hunting continues to climb. It doesn't take a genius biologist to figure out how that has impacted our wildlife.
LOL....there was no comparison. There was a question about how one herd is highly impacted and another was not..........the question being is it merely conditioning.
I take it from your comment that you think the answer is yes. One herd is conditioned to human presences and activity because they are protected in a national park......at least for 5 months out of the year when hunting seasons are open. Thx! ;)
Ya, the rifle tags issued were off the charts, now bowhunters get to suffer.
You think it’s bad now.... just watch what happens to the backcountry Refuge areas once e-bikes get the go-ahead and make those areas “accessible” to a whole raft of people who (so far) have been too un-fit to enjoy them.
And lets push more "trails" back further into the most remote areas so the recreational hikers, bikers, joggers, bunny huggers, etc.. can see more wildlife.
Hold on.... They have as much right to be there as we do; they just really need to be educated about harassment of wildlife.
It’s not as if shed hunters, summer-scouters and trail-cam guys don’t have their impacts as well.