I’m a but unsure this is news because every winter and spring the class of elk that wolves find the easiest to kill in Yellowstone seems to vary, but here is the article

Yellowstone wolves again eating older elk. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

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About The Author

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 past President of the Western Watersheds Project.

3 Responses to Yellowstone wolves again eating older elk

  1. avatar SAP says:

    Ralph – you may have already seen it, but there is a new article in Journal of Wildlife Management (volume 71(2)) by L. L. Eberhardt et al, “A Seventy-Year History of Trends in Yellowstone’s Northern Elk Herd.”

    The article reports that the northern range herd dropped from 23,000 to 12,000 from 1995-2004.

    The article also states (p.594, abstract) that “reduction of harvests of prime-aged female elk to decrease removals of animals with high reproductive value and increase adult female survival appears essential. We analyzed the relative impact of removals by hunters and by wolves . . . and found that the impact of hunters is far more important than that by wolves, a finding of broad significance.”

    Probably could surmise that wolves, due to their hunting techniques, do end up killing older cows.

    People, on the other hand, well, we find elk in herds, pick out a cow elk without regard to her age or condition, and pull the trigger. We obviously don’t run them around awhile to see which ones look most vulnerable.

  2. Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, I don’t have access. I have no personal subscription and Idaho State University does not subscribe, but your analysis surely makes sense.

    If the reproductively fit females are disproportionately hunted on top of animal predation, the herd will decline, and not recover quickly (I would predict)l

  3. avatar Jon Way says:

    Hi Ralph, if your library doesn’t have JWM, I am sure they will get you the article for free by interlibrary loan.
    I did that at Boston College with many journals and it was very easy.
    Just a thought…


April 2007


‎"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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