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Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

7 Responses to Record number of elk in Montana, but poor elk hunting season due to warm weather

  1. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    The word “wolves” is mentioned twice in the article…

    From the article: “Montana’s elk herd is as large as it’s been since the state was first settled. Biologists estimate that there are somewhere between 130,000 to 160,000 elk in the state.”

    I’m so confused…! I “heard” that KILLER WOLVES were decimating the elk…! 😉

    “By 1910, elk numbers had dwindled to about 50,000 or less in all of North America. In Montana, the numbers dropped to nearly 3,000 in the entire state outside of Yellowstone National Park.”

    I’m so confused…! Was it wolves or was it out of control KILLER HUNTERS that decimated the elk? 😉

  2. avatar kim kaiser says:

    didnt yo hear, the wolves caused the warm weather that caused the bad hunt!

  3. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    kim, are we experiencing global wolf warming? 😉

  4. Wait until Billings Gazette has picked up the story (not yet, i´ve checked it)! Their comment section will soon reveal the truth, numbers faked by greenies or scientists or the authorities or everybody of course and – you bet – there will be the word “wolf” in at least two comments (they are very very reliable).

  5. avatar skyrim says:

    Peter, these were my exact thoughts this morning too. I can’t wait for Marion’s spin………….

  6. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    The history of elk conservation in the Greater Yellowstone is rather complicated. I do want to let people know that the primary cause of the loss of many elk herds in this ecosystem a century ago was a combination of poaching, commercial hunting to supply industrial enterprises such as railroads and mines, and imposition of livestock onto elk summer and winter ranges.

    In Wyoming, efforts to conserve elk began in the early 20th century with the passage of game laws against the sale of elk meat, hides, and bull elk canines (tusks). Several state-level game reserves were established throughout the State in which hunting was not allowed.

    However, funding for law enforcement and restoration efforts was slow in coming until the Wyoming G&F Commission become more or less financially independent in 1937. Almost immediately, the Commission embarked upon a strategic land purchase program to establish winter range complexes throughout the State, primarily for elk. This program lasted for fifty years, until the early 1990s when the livestock industry dominated legislature finally killed it. That itself is a long and complicated story.

    The livestock industry has long opposed large elk herds, despite all the talk about how wildlife depends upon private lands, and aren’t the ranchers great conservtionists for allowing public wildlife on private lands. But the fact is that elk herd objectives throughout the State are more dependent upon rancher tolerance for elk than upon a biological assessment of the actual carrying capacity of the various ranges. Late season depredation hunts are common to cut down on the number of wintering elk to preserve forage for livestock. And of course, in northwestern Wyoming west of the Continental Divide, we have the feedgrounds that are designed to keep elk off private and public lands, also to preserve forage for cattle.

    In short, elk conservation has been a long and difficult effort, obstructed constantly by the livestock industry, and achieved largely contrary to the demands of the livestock industry to keep elk numbers low.

    We could support a lot more elk in the Greater Yellowstone, not to mention bison, without livestock.

  7. Robert,

    That’s function of groups like the misnamed Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife — to keep hunter’s eyes diverted from the factor that really depresses elk, deer, pronghorn, moose numbers — cattle and sheep.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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