Posts tagged: elk
HUNTING — My buddy, Andy, sent me this photo of bull elk passing by his trail cam, which is mounted just 20 yards from his bowhunting blind.
Trust me: you can't really imagine how anxious Andy is for the first week of September, unless you're a bowhunter.
HUNTING – A proposed 10-year elk management plan has been released for public comment by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.
The plan is posted on the Fish and Game Department’s elk planning webpage.
Public comments are due by Sept. 22.
Agency officials will hold a live online chat from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday (Aug. 29) to answer questions about the plan.
WILDLIFE — As mentioned in today's outdoors column about elk management in the Blue Mountains, Washington wildlife managers report good results from a program that signs contracts with farmers and ranchers to improve elk habitat and reduce big-game depredation issues on their lands.
One of the tactics is to plant “lure crops” to attract elk to higher elevation plots so they won't be so tempted to come down and ravage expensive crops such as garbanzo beans.
Remote camera photos such as the one above show elk using these food plots. Here's the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlfie field report that went with this and other photos:
Elk Lure Crops: Conflict Specialist Rasley met with two farmers on Wilson Hollow in Walla Walla County “regarding no elk damage.” Both farmers said, “This is the first time in over 20 years we have not had 60 plus head of elk in our garbs.” They asked what the reasoning was and Rasley showed them both where all 68 head of elk are living now; in our newly planted lure crops some five miles up the road.
WILDLIFE — Bull elk are polishing their antlers and getting worked up for the season ahead, as Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson documented yesterday with this photo.
Are you getting ready for the season?
Is your gear ready?
Do you have your territory staked out?
Are you in shape?
Can you beat the competition?
WILDLIFE — As hunters are going out scouting for the upcoming big-game seasons, they aren't necessarily looking for elk in traditional places.
For instance, the hunting seasons conducted the past two years inside the boundaries of Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge have spurred more of the elk to move out and set up shop in the scablands to the south, east and north of the refuge.
Last year, on Aug. 30, birding buff Mike Miller was suprised and pleased to capture the accompanying photos while hiking around the Oligher Ranch portion of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Telford Recreation Area.
First, the bull was bedded down in the reeds. When Miller surprised it, and himself, the elk trotted out through the sage.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — DNA tests have confirmed a critter shot in Kentucky is a gray wolf, according to this Outdoor Life report.
WILDLIFE — Idaho Fish and Game biologists will present a proposed 10-year elk management plan for approval at the Fish and Game Commission meeting Monday, Aug.19, at the Upper Snake Region office, 4279 Commerce Circle, Idaho Falls.
If approved, Fish and Game will release the proposed plan or a 30-day public review and comment period.
A live, online chat would be held 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. PDT, Aug. 29, to discuss and answer questions about the plan.
Also on the agenda is a proposed 2013-2014 waterfowl season of 105 days and a two-day youth hunt, along with some changes in goose seasons and limits.
The proposed seasons would separate Canada geese and white-fronted geese seasons with two options to accommodate white-fronted goose hunting opportunities for the 2013-2014 season in the southwest part of the state.
Commissioners also will consider a proposed sage-grouse season, with the opening day on September 21. The seven-day sage-grouse season would run through September 27, with a one bird daily bag limit and a two-bird possession limit.
Other agenda items include approval of the fiscal 2015 budget request.
No public hearing will be held during this one-day meeting.
HUNTING — The wildfire — considred human-caused — that's already burned 80,000 acres near Ellensburg, is scorching the winter range of one of the state's most important elk herds.
The extent of the impacts is yet unknown, but the Colockum herd almost surely will be impacted this winter. Beyond that, there's room for hope that the fire could be a net gain. Assessments will come after the fire's out.
Read details in this story by Scott Sandsberry of the Yakima Herald-Republic.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — I was out on a successful catch and release wolf trapping mission today.
More to come…
PREDATORS — The Washington Legislature appropriated $250,000 to a fund for compensating ranchers for livestock injured or killed by wolves.
Jack Field, executive vice president of the Washington Cattlemen's Association, said the amount “a great first step” for the agency and for the livestock industry, according to the Capital Press.
The direction WDFW is going on preventative measures, he said, will hopefully reduce the impacts of wolves. The budget also provides $750,000 for nonlethal deterrence methods.
Another important change this year is the removal of a $1,500 cap on the value of an animal. Instead, compensation will be based on the market value of the animal. A steer could be worth $600 and a prize bull would be far more, but the owner would need proof of its value, Capital Press reports.
HUNTING — I'm feeling pretty smug this week after checking out the special hunting permit lottery results and seeing that I drew a coveted Blue Mountains antlerless elk tag.
Most years I wish calamities on camo-clad brethren who draw tags while I sulk in the huge pool of losers.
But the game is only begun. Now it's time to be sure everything is planned out, from the camp sites to the scouting and most important — the physical conditioning for hunting day after day in the steep canyons of the Blues.
The last time my hunting partner, Jim, drew a bull tag, he started working out in June in a well-planned schedule with a backpack and increasingly longer distances and heavier loads.
A hunter waits years to draw a tag for a special opportunity to harvest an elk. You don't want to waste the chance.
My workout program kicked in high gear last weekend as I helped my daughter move all her belongings out of a SECOND STORY apartment.
I commute to work on my bicycle, riding 14 miles round trip up and down the South Hill.
I'm planning at least four major backpacking trips and numerous dayhikes through the summer.
And that, in my experience, is just barely enough to get me on track for seriously hunting the Blues and being in shape for comfortably packing out the meat if I'm lucky enough to score.
What are you doing to prepare for elk season?
PREDATORS — Wolve have had an impact on elk in Wyoming, forcing recuced elk hunting opportunity.
But with elk herds stabilized, wolves aren't having as much impact on elk as other predators and habitat issues.
That's they gyst what researchers are finding in the latest study on elk herds in Wyoming.
HUNTING — Check in and cheer or cry: The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife special permit drawings for 2013 have been conducted.
To view your drawing results, visit the WDFW website.
CAMPING — Many families consider Memorial Day weekend the kickoff for the camping season. Unfortunately, it's also the start of some bad habits for wildlife attracted to the food and garbage campers make available.
Luring wildlife to camping areas with food creates pests that can bother or injure campers that follow. In some cases, especially with bears, a junk-food addict usually must to be killed for public safety.
Also, wildlife attracted to food are more likely to be around roads where they can be hurt in vehicle collisions.
But even with that knowledge already firmly in his camping routine, James Pelland was chagrined to find elk rustling through untended garbage at his camp over the weekend. Here's his report and heads up to other campers.
“My family and I enjoy floating and camping up on the N.Fk CDA. Over the years we've seen plenty of deer, elk and moose.
“Around 5 a.m. Monday morning I woke to what sounded like something rummaging through our camp gear. I had gone to bed early and left it up to my wife and daughter, who were enjoying the campfire, to make sure our site was properly “secured” (food put away etc). I poked my head out of the tent and saw our small trash bag had been left hanging on a tree and the elk (not raccoons, not crows) in the attached picture were helping themselves to leftover pita chips and clam chowder. The yearling was using its nose to try to open our cooler!
“We feel sorry for furthering the habituation of these elk to people and people food, and feel sorry for the elk. The camp hosts told us that the elk drink the soapy water from their cleaning pail.”
Then Pelland pointed out:
I remember a couple years ago a bear chewed on someone's ear through his tent near St. Regis… The camper got there at night and didn't notice that the previous folks had left a huge food mess. My buddy and I had driven right past that site the next day on our way to fishing… I always remember that story and don't need a bear chewing on my ear (or worse).
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.