Elk, or wapiti—a Shawnee Indian term for the animals—moved across the Bering Strait from Asia at least 120,000 years ago. Elk populations in the Roaring Fork and Eagle valleys have dropped about 50 percent since year 2000, Pitkin County Open Space and Trails/courtesy photo A helicopter flies a pregnant cow elk off of Wildcat Ranch to a staging site in March 2019 where Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers implanted a transmitter for a study. <> endobj The number of elk … <> 17 0 obj Researchers found that between 1999 and 2015, elk populations decreased by over 50%, “exacerbated by an increase in hunting from 2003 to 2004.” Further, reproduction rates among herds has plummeted so low that wildlife officials are worried “populations might not recover and could continue to drop.” However, as of right now, there are fewer than 17,000 elk and it appears as though that number could continue to decrease if the Colorado Parks and Wildlife doesn’t look to do something about it. “Among other things, wolves also greatly reduced elk numbers to dangerously low levels in central Idaho and have a profound impact on declining moose and deer populations in the Western Great Lakes region.” The Northern Yellowstone Elk herd numbered more than 19,000 before wolf reintroduction in the mid-1990s but dropped below 4,000 in 2012. 5 0 obj Elk populations in the Roaring Fork and Eagle River valleys are already in decline, and herds have decreased 50% since 2000. stream Have a chance to win hunts and gear every month — over $100,000 per year, Access strategy & tips to help you apply & spend more time in the field, Statistics and historical data to find top producing trophy units, Detailed overview of how to apply and hunt in each state, Your quick dashboard for important dates, benefits, and the latest giveaways. 3 0 obj Elk arrived in northern Colorado about 8,000–10,000 years ago and in southern Colorado a… 7 0 obj Or something else? ",#(7),01444'9=82. While hunting could have played an initial part in the overall elk decline, once Colorado Parks & Wildlife reduced hunting licenses in 2003, populations continued to decrease, showing that hunting wasn’t the sole reason behind the drop in populations. <> endobj ���� JFIF � � �� ZExif MM * J Q Q !�Q !� �� ���� C %PDF-1.5 Elk are the second largest antlered animals in the world, only moose are larger. goHUNT is a registered trademark of goHUNT, LLC. Their distribution and abundance in North America ebbed and flowed in relation to periods of glaciation, but they roamed from northern Canada into Mexico. [ 15 0 R] However, elk hunting plays a major role within Colorado’s economy. The ODFW aims to slow the rate of population decline with the goal of a stable and healthy elk population at manageable levels for hunters, the public and private landowners. <> The study, which was funded by Rocky Mountain Wild and Patagonia, specifically focused on herds within the Eagle and Roaring Fork valleys south of Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Pilot & Today reports. The National Elk Refuge near Jackson, Wyoming, has an elk herd with consists approximately 20 percent bulls, 65 percent cows, and 15 percent calves. endstream Others in the area have noticed the decline, especially with the local elk population. Could city growth and, even, hiking trails cause elk populations to drop? Eleven populations of western toads disappeared from the West Elk Mountains of Colorado between 1974 and 1982 because of a bacterial infection and, perhaps, multiple sublethal environmental causes. Colorado is home to the largest elk population in the world. Studies from Colorado State University have shown that as people enter a backcountry area, elk tend to leave. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) considers some elk herds as overabundant. Tagged as: 9 0 obj �M �=�����qp�8e�78�4�W�,��&(��y,y��Z���C./�����0 VW���/m���]�{�(���saQ�T��Ja�y'`���ɘ|Tid�_�D�]4��J? 29 In 2018, 19 of the state’s 42 elk herds (45%) exceeded population objectives set by CPW. endobj Wildlife managers think this explosion of trail use, not construction, or roads, or vehicular traffic by itself, is what has caused such a dramatic and rapid decline of the elk population. 11 0 obj endobj Or, if nothing else, they’re disturbed enough to get up and move around. Though it is important to recognize that over the last two decades, many elk herds in Colorado have changed their habits due to the continuing destruction of habitat through development and the increasing disturbance by humans in their natural habitats. News, Colorado, elk, study, hunting, population. EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Elk herds in the Eagle Valley are disappearing. ��8�yV��nܸ��u��02�E����!d�L�ظ�T�wg���R�����YNyV�d��+�������U柺z�]*}&!7����s�^������H$j�'9����{ף:[��� �ne�؞bb41vm06�ÔA�]O�`ć���-'8Z;�w�+��=֛I�����}��"��l� �@�b�z�@������ e��D��}�� �j�� ��ػ6 ��=|��6�[p˸���_�I�dK�vI i� 7��ӇrYQ��� n��. As the animal populations drop, Colorado Parks and Wildlife adjusts the number of hunting licenses available in an effort to stabilize herd population. endobj That aerial count number is combined with harvest data and winter condition information to estimate population. By the early 1900s, Western settlers had wiped out nearly all of the elk in North America, bringing an estimated population of 10 million down to just … endobj That followed five years of steep declines in elk population and an increase in hunting licenses in 2000. endobj “We tend to take our public lands and wildlife for granted—it's human nature—but every so often nature gives us a wake-up call,” said Luke Wiedel, a Colorado resident and life member of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. <> Additional cow (female) licenses were used to reduce elk populations to Herd Management Plan (HMP) population objectives. 4 0 obj Elk populations are now stable, but at a lower population size. In 2002, an estimated 10,600 elk resided in the valley. Historically, Colorado’s elk populations have oscillated widely. Elk populations in the Roaring Fork and Eagle valleys have dropped about 50% since 2000. “Both sides — the ranchers and the hunters — think elk are important,” TNC biologist Chad Dotson said. 8 0 obj Bill Andree spent 38 years studying wildlife in the Eagle Valley as an officer with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Researchers found that between 1999 and 2015, elk populations decreased by over 50%, “exacerbated by an increase in hunting from 2003 to 2004.” Further, reproduction rates among herds has plummeted so low that wildlife officials are worried “populations might not recover and could continue to drop.”. Colorado Parks and Wildlife started issuing fewer hunting licenses in 2005 for elk in the game units covering the two valleys. Many elk herds have moved to winter ranges on private lands early in the season. Elk counts are done from helicopters in the winter, said Bill Andree, a Parks and Wildlife manager stationed in the area. Wildlife activists attribute the decline to human population increases and encroachment into winter and summer elk ranges. Wildlife activists attribute the decline to human population increases and encroachment into winter and summer elk ranges. 13 0 obj Elk Population in Decline With Rise of Bear Clotheslines October 27, 2016 Ethan Nicolle clothesline, elk Biologists were baffled by a slew of elk with broken necks scattered along the plains of Redspork until a photographer captured the cause on film: Bear clotheslines. <> The number of breeding sites in Rocky Mountain National Park has declined to only 3. Currently, the majority of elk herds in the state are either at or near target levels. Elk travel through Wheatley Open Space in March 2019. The elk in unit 45, as it’s called, live between 7,000 and 11,000 feet on the pine, spruce and aspen-covered hillsides and peaks of the Colorado … endobj These dead ends led Millhouser to suggest that increased human development – and outdoor recreation – could be behind the general decline of elk within Routt County. But the biggest change in the local hunting landscape is the documented decline in elk and deer numbers in Eagle County. Maybe, according to a new study that looks into the effects of human development on the decline of elk populations in Colorado. 16 0 obj <> endobj <> 12 0 obj <>>> Bill Andree, the recently-retired Colorado Parks and Wildlife manager for the Vail area, said that decline has been steep. <> Cow elk weigh from 450 to 600 pounds. Over the years, FWP has offered more elk tags and late-season hunts in that district, so hunters have been more successful, and that probably explains the slight decline since 2011. Elk numbers have been declining in Southwest Colorado, going from an estimated 19,500 in 2015 to 16,889 in 2019, Weinmeister said. Receive updates and goHUNT's most popular content. COLORADO, USA — The elk herds in southwest Colorado are hurting and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is trying to figure out why. Elk populations in the Roaring Fork and Eagle River valleys are already in decline, and herds have decreased 50 percent since 2000. endobj CPW has compensated for declining calf ratios in the southern half of the state by significantly reducing the number of cow licenses issued. 18 0 obj 18 of the 42 herds (43%) were within 10% of their target population objective. <> Colorado elk populations are in crisis. Millhouser also couldn’t find a direct link between predation or increased vehicle-elk collisions to explain the “decades-long decline,” according to the Steamboat Pilot & Today. Bothering elk cows … In 1991, 28% of U.S. hunters fell in the 25-34 age group, accounting for the largest share of the hunting population.That number declined to 16% … 1 0 obj endobj endobj The shift from public to private lands durin… In a phone conversation the day after the forum, Duval said the elk population decline has come in an area essentially in the Eagle River and Roaring Fork River drainages. <> Colorado now boasts the largest elk population – about 280,000 animals – in North America. 14 0 obj <> Colorado’s statewide elk population was at its peak in 2001. In recent years, hunters in Southwest Colorado have seen a huge decline in the elk population. The animals also play a critical role in creating a balanced ecosystem within the Centennial State, which is why Paul Millhouser, author of this recent study, decided to look at “the variables that had the greatest impact on elk populations.” These ranged from human-driven causes like hunting to natural causes like predation and severe weather. The challenge of understanding the forces behind this population decline comes at a time when Colorado will restructure the way it carries out big-game hunting seasons, which, among conservationists and hunters alike, presents an opportunity to help elk recover. endobj 10 0 obj They aren’t moving elsewhere, wildlife managers say they are simply disappearing at a troubling rate. 6 0 obj The agency manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado's wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs. DENVER (KDVR) — A recent study by a Denver nonprofit links development to the drastic decline of elk in two herds near Vail and Aspen. 15 0 obj �p�$E-\���;�а|��ɕ�����f�Mg��I�\f4��ŷ49rz�i��A+���x�1 cOV͐0ܠ1���S�����|z:��3� 2021 Western Big Game Hunting Application Deadlines, YOUTH APPLICATION STRATEGY — Take Your Kids Hunting Part 3, Three reasons you need to sight your bow in at long ranges, Wyoming Backcountry Mule Deer Hunt Video Series With Randy Newberg, OUT WEST - A Wyoming Backcountry Archery Elk Hunt, 2021 application period begins Jan. 4 in Wyoming, Let’s not forget that hunting is about hunting. 2 0 obj When this happens to cows with calves, the effects can be deadly. In 2015, there were almost 20,000 elk in the area. <> <>/ExtGState<>/XObject<>/ProcSet[/PDF/Text/ImageB/ImageC/ImageI] >>/MediaBox[ 0 0 612 792] /Contents 4 0 R/Group<>/Tabs/S/StructParents 0>> <> The population was over objective for about a decade, which annoyed landowners who had to repair fences and protect hay bales. Is increased outdoor recreation to blame or land development? Bull elk are 4.5 to 5 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh 550 to 800 pounds. endobj $.' On top of killing elk, they can disrupt breeding habits and future offspring. What do you think? “No one wants to see the numbers too high or too low.” endobj %���� endobj Winter surveys estimated a population of 8,231 elk, slightly fewer than last year’s less reliable surveys during a mild winter at lower elevations and well below the objective of 9,500. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is a nationally recognized leader in conservation, outdoor recreation and wildlife management. stream By 2016, the number had dropped to an estimated 6,554 elk. x����N�@��-��Ү���[email protected]�%R/Lb�o�]sP$,��l�k'���efv�'��Yݕ7 �MS���nᲘ�MS?\��Ǫ8+��u٬�uq�|����뺩6�1LfS��&�Xʀ�r��6U����4�,Ҥ8�@)��4�n Because of this, he urged “caution when it comes to further human encroachment into natural lands.”. endobj <> And evidence points to the stress of more people and traffic combined with changing weather patterns as factors in this decline.
2020 colorado elk population decline