Posts tagged: elk
HUNTING — Wednesday (May 22) is the deadline to apply for Washington's special big-game hunting permits for deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep, and turkey seasons.
Permit winners will be selected through a random drawing in late June.
Update your email and mailing address in the system when purchasing your special permit applications and licenses. Each year, hundreds of special hunting permits are returned because of invalid addresses, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department officials say.
Idaho's first controlled hunt application period ended April 30. The second CH application period for leftover tags is June 15-25.
Montana's main deer and elk special permit application period ended March 15. Applications for antelope and secondary elk and deer permits is June 1.
Out & About: Washington raising stakes for drunk boating … REI project to boost Little Spokane River Trail … Mountain bikers gear up for 24 Hours … Two Rivers walleye derby … Angler nailed for taking two limits
HUNTING – The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation says it’s waiving fees for auctioning state-sponsored big-game hunting tags and is challenging other groups to do the same to increase funding for wildlife conservation.
The Missoula-based foundation announced last week that it will return 100 percent of the revenue it generates from the auction of state special big game permits through its national events and programs to the individual states.
Large groups that organize tag auctions or raffles generally take a percentage of the profits for their efforts and return the rest to state wildlife agencies for managing big-game species such as elk, deer and bighorn sheep.
“These tags were intended to benefit wildlife conservation and hunting access, not the organizations selling them,” said David Allen, RMEF president.
RMEF recently auctioned a special elk permit offered by Arizona for $385,000 at its national convention.
The RMEF convention generates $700,000 to $1 million each year in the auction sale of special tags/permits from state game and fish agencies.
Similar high-bid auctions are organized by groups such as the Wild Sheep Foundation and Safari Club International.
Allen also called for groups and sportsmen to follow the auction funds to make sure they’re used for the intended purpose of managing target species.
He said wildlife conservation groups should allow complete transparency of all their financial information including the publishing of their audited financials from each fiscal year.
HUNTING — Idaho Fish and Game is beginning it's process to revise elk management plans with an open house at the Panhandle Region headquarters office from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursday (May 2) in Coeur d'Alene.
Not to be confused with annual hunting regulations, species management plans provide direction for management of a particular species for the next 10 years or more.
Read on for more details from IFG officials.
WILDLIFE — An internationally famous Yellowstone National Park bull elk has died, likely killed by the Canyon wolf pack, which was seen Saturday feeding on his carcass, according to today's report by Brett French of the Billings Gazette.
Elk No. 10, the last to wear a yellow ear tag with the number 10 on it, was found dead about a half mile east of the Wraith Falls trailhead in the park on Saturday, according to Al Nash, the park's chief of public affairs. The elk was 16-18 years old.
Elk No. 10 became internationally famous after the British Broadcasting Corp. made a film on elk that featured the Mammoth animals as well as those in Estes Park, Colo. Clips from the films “Street Fighters” and “Showdown in Elk Town” can still be found on YouTube.
The large bull elk attracted attention in Gardiner in 2001 when he got his antlers tangled in a badminton net and poles at the Mammoth school. The only way to remove the net was to tranquilize the elk and saw off its antlers. That's when the elk was given its yellow ear tag to ensure that any hunters who saw it that fall would know the elk's meat was unsafe to eat because of the tranquilizer.
“I remember in 2006 when Elk 10 arrived on the Mammoth scene on Sept. 10,” wrote Jim Halfpenny, a Gardner-based naturalist who gives tours in the park, in an email. “He was now big and took the harem over from another bull. In the coming years, he and Elk 6 did battle on more than one occasion. In more recent years he did not come into Mammoth, but maintained a harem of his own between the YCC camp and Mammoth Terraces. Being slightly old, wiser, and lacking the body weight of his youth, it was now time to retreat to a more private place with a smaller harem. He let the younger bulls compete for the prime grazing habitat of Mammoth and the cows that are attracted there.”
PREDATORS — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists weighed in today, confirming that the Northern Rockies gray wolf population has remained sustainable two years after wolves lost their endangered species protections in most of the region.
The latest wolf status updates on 2012 wolf monitoring in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming found that aggressive hunting, and some trapping, in the three states lowered the overall number of wolves for the first time in years.
Overall, biologists tallied a minimum of 1,674 wolves across the five states at the end of 2012, a 6 percent decline.
However, the wolf population that burgeoned under protections for more than a decade are still FIVE TIMES higher than the federal government’s original recovery goal, set in the 1990s, of at least 300 wolves in the region.
That goal was achieved in 2002, but lawsuits stalled wolf management for years and the population soared.
Read on for a summary of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2012 Northern Rockies wolf status report.
HUNTING –The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider adopting 17 new hunting rules for the upcoming season when it convenes Friday and Saturday April 12-13 in Olympia.
Among other proposals on the agenda, the panel will consider allowing bowhunters to use illuminated arrow nocks, which can be helpful in finding and retrieving arrows.
All of the proposals scheduled for a vote are posted online.
In other business, a plan will be discussed for transferring the Fish and Wildlife Department's Hunter Education Division and certain wildlife-conflict responsibilities from the Enforcement Program to the Wildlife Program.
HUNTING — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has scheduled an online chat, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., on Wednesday and Thursday (April 10 and 11) for the public to weigh in on the new blueprint for managing the state’s elk herds.
The agency’s big-game biologists and mangers statewide will be working online with transcribers to answer questions as they come in from people who connect through the agency website.
“We had good participation in the online chat we held this winter for waterfowl rules and licensing and that was held during mid-day when people were working,” said Mike Keckler, the agency’s communications chief.
“We’re thinking we’ll get even more participation if we hold it in the evening.”
The agency also will schedule an open house meeting in Coeur d’Alene this spring.
Revisions currently under consideration are based on elk hunter surveys, habitat changes and other factors.
PREDATORS — Idaho's 2012 wolf monitoring report released Tuesday indicates the state is struggling to get 14 years of burgeoning wolf populations into some sort of sustainable balance with prey and social acceptance.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game reports 683 wolves at the end of 2012, down from 746 wolves in 2011 — an 11 percent decrease.
But the total number of packs has increased from 104 in 2011 to 117 in 2012. Wolves are moving in and out of the state, and a new crop of wolves is being born in dens across the state this month.
State wildlife officials attribute both the overall population downsizing and the increase in packs to continued pressure through hunting, trapping and agency control methods.
“Despite concerns expressed by some people that hunting and trapping would eliminate wolf packs, we haven’t found that to be the case,” said Jon Rachael, Fish and Game’s state big-game manager in Boise.
While the number of wolf packs increased, the average size of the packs decreased, Rachael said.
“That is exactly what we would expect to see with wolves being harvested by hunters and trappers,” he said. “Average pack size peaked in 2008 prior to our first hunting season, when we estimated an average of slightly more than eight wolves per pack, and has declined since then to about five wolves per pack now.”
Last year, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission increased bag limits, extended hunting seasons in some areas, allowed hunters to use electronic calls and certified more wolf trappers.
Idaho reports 418 wolves were killed by these means and the efforts of Wildlife Services to protect livestock
Yet the overall effort has barely made a dent in a wolf population that federal and state experts agree is too large for its own good.
For now, it’s the official policy of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission to continue reducing the number of wolves. Wildlife officials don't state a goal for Idaho's wolf population, noting only that the state legislature in 2002 committed to maintaining at least 150 wolves.
“Simply removing them one time doesn't mean they are gone,” Rachael said. “They will backfill suitable habitat fairly quickly. That is why you can have a pretty high harvest rate with wolves and you don't see the population plummeting as some folks were predicting early on.”
ENDANGERED SPECIES — News that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is looking into the possibility of delisting gray wolves from endangered species protections ought to be good news.
Delisting is the goal of listing.
Delisting was applauded where' it's already happened — much later than federal scientists, elected officials, state wildlife managers, ranchers and hunters would have liked — in Montana and Washington.
But some western environmental groups are opposing the possibililty that's been circulating in the past few weeks.
On the other hand, 72 members of Congress have signed a petition urging delisting.
Click “continue reading” for the latest from the Associated Press.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — A new wolf pack has been confirmed in Washington by state wildlife officials, bringing the number of known packs to 10 with AT LEAST four other packs suspected of operating inside or on the state borders.
The photo with this post shows two wolves near an elk carcass in the Pitcher Creek drainage about six miles south of Wenatchee, as reported in the Wenatchee World.
In the story, state wildlife biologist Dave Volson doesn't hesitate to point out that this wolf pack could be “new” only in the sense thats it's just been confirmed.
Wolf reports — many are substantiated but many others are not — are coming in from a wide range of areas on the state's wolf reporting webpage. Even the more open spaces of the Palouse region is home to wolves.
See a good roundup of recent wolf-related activity and news — including how wolf management is factoring into the state Senate confirmation hearings for Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissioners and a Washington-collared wolf killed legally in British Columbia — in the latest Wolf Howler report by Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman.
PREDATORS— The potential impact of wolves on northeastern Washington game species such as deer and elk will be discussed in a public meeting set by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on Wednesday (March 27) in Colville.
State and local wildlife managers will present information on wolf monitoring in the area along with population trends and harvest data for white-tailed deer, elk and moose.
They’ll also discuss the status of wolves in the region and the impact wolves have had on deer and elk populations in other western states, according to a WDFW media release.
Dave Ware, WDFW game manager, said the department has not documented any measureable impacts from wolves on game species in Washington, but recognizes that reports from other states have raised public concerns.
“We want to talk to people in northeast Washington about this issue because that’s the area of the state that has the largest number of wolves,” Ware said. “We’d encourage area residents who have concerns to attend this meeting.”
WILDLIFE — A major elk herd that migrates between Yellowstone National Park and Montana is still in a decline that’s reduced the population by 80 percent in 20 years.
Scientists from the park and the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks said the Northern Yellowstone elk herd is down 6 percent this winter, to 3,915 animals.
The herd peaked at about 20,000 animals in 1992. That was just a few years before gray wolves were reintroduced to the Yellowstone area from Canada after being absent from the region for decades.
Also taking a toll on the herd have been hunters, other predators including mountain lions and bears, and harsh winters.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Sinlahekin Wildlife Area manager Dale Swedberg doesn't just preach the gospel of rejuvenating wildlife habitat with controlled prescribed fires — he'll let you see for yourself.
A website with an eye-opening collection of photos compares historic photos of the Sinlanhekin Wildlife Area with photos of the same locations made in recent years.
While the northcentral Washington landscape near Loomis has been improved in some ways, the most glaring observation is the increase in tree cover due to fire supression in the past 90 years. Trees are good, but too many of them clogging the landscape eliminates the habitat diversity needed by wildlife.
Fire has been around as long as life because fire depends on living things to produce the fuels fire needs to exist. A person would think that there might be some important connections developed in such a long relationship. — Dale Swedberg
Resources for learning more about prescribed burns include:
HUNTING — Time's running out for hunters planning to make applications for Montana's special deer and elk hunting permits and non-resident combo licenses.
The deadline is Friday.
HUNTING — The number of bull permits offered in Idaho’s Unit 11 is expected to drop following recent elk surveys that show a decline in both bulls and calves there, according to Eric Barker of the Lewiston Tribune.
The unit south of Lewiston is sometimes called Waha for the small community there, or simply Craig Mountain, after the Craig Mountain Wildlife Management area. It is a trophy bull-hunting destination and its abundant elk population has supported a popular cow hunt. People must win a permit in the state’s controlled hunt lottery to hunt there.
Winning a bull permit may be harder to do this year. Bull numbers have taken a sharp dive since the last survey in 2009.
“Bull numbers fell to 222 from 367, which is a substantial decline,” said Jay Crenshaw, regional wildlife manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at Lewiston. “But to put that in perspective, in 2002 when we flew, we had 220 bulls, so we kind of fell back to 2002 levels.”
Read on for more of Barker's report.
WILDLIFE — Before you launch into another week, pause for a soothing couple of minutes with wintering wildlife accompanied by Kenny G's tenor sax: Courtesy of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Wolves and cougars aren't the only critters posing a threat to the region's elk herds.
Tom and Jane Smith of Spokane Valley were driving southbound on Highway 27 toward Fairfield Tueday around 1 p.m. when Tom reports, “I saw the largest herd of elk I've ever sighted.”
Just north of the Elder Road turnoff, we saw a herd of between 20 and 30 animals—several bulls—being chased by a dog. They were headed east toward Highway 27 then turned back west. We lost them in the hills.
Great to see (not the dog, but the elk).
Here are some of the past week's top outdoors stories in The Spokesman-Review:
WILDLIFE — Helicopters are getting ready to fly for a wide-ranging wildlife research effort in Idaho's Clearwater region.