Idaho big game outlook: Expect stable deer and elk populations this year

Big game outlook: Expect stable deer and elk populations this year. By Roger Phillips. Idaho Statesman. This is a detailed look for all the areas of the state of Idaho.

If wolves were destroying Idaho’s elk and deer population, the populations should be declining. In fact, they should be declining at an increasing rate as the wolf population has grown.



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  1. Jim Avatar

    Anyone who doubts that wolves really do benefit prey animals in the long run should read this article.

  2. Layton Avatar

    Naaaa, the wolves aren’t destroying ALL the big game populations, —- but —- there are a few quotes in the article that would seem to point out that all is NOT roses and lollipops — for the deer and elk at any rate.

    such as:

    “A mild winter meant a 69 percent survival rate for 277 fawns that Idaho Department of Fish and Game tracked over the winter. That’s the third-highest survival rate since monitoring started in 1998.”

    Could it be that populations would be UP if the wolves weren’t “harvesting” a lot of that population growth??

    “We do have wolves in most units north of the Snake River, but that’s not news anymore. We’ve seen a decline in the number of elk in our Sawtooth Zone units over the last five years, but we’re still seeing pretty good calf production.”

    Does that really say “a decline in the number of elk”?

    “Aerial flights showed mixed results for hunters. The Selway Zone continues to have declining elk herds, but there’s still a stable number of bulls. But regulations may have to change in the future because there are so few young bulls to replace those killed by hunters or natural mortality”

    Changing regulations, declining populations and few young bulls?? I thought all was well.

    “Clearwater hunters are probably aware of how wolves are affecting hunting, and packs have pioneered new areas. Hunters should do their best to get any game animal they shoot out of the woods as quickly as possible. If they have to leave it overnight, it should be hung so it’s out of reach of wolves. ”

    Yep, more good news!!

    If you read the article, read the WHOLE thing!



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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