Outdoors blog

Elk study begins in western Montana

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT -- Forty-four cow elk  in western Montana's Ravalli County have been equipped with GPS collars as part of an elk population study expected to last through 2013.

Biologists with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the University of Montana attached the collars earlier this month to the elk captured with net guns and tranquilizer darts fired from a helicopter.

Biologist Craig Jourdonnais of Fish, Wildlife and Parks tells the Ravalli Republic that the study should show how elk are using the landscape in the East and West Forks of the Bitterroot River.

State biologists plan to conduct three or four flights a month to check for mortality as well, which will among other things help peg the impacts of wolves, cougars, bears and other impacts on elk numbers.

Biologists hope to capture and radio-collar elk calves this spring as part of the study.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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