Yellowstone wolves again eating older elk

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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  1. SAP Avatar

    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. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    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. Jon Way Avatar

    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…


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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