Elk numbers are high in units 7 and 9, which are at the head of the St. Joe drainage, even though the areas were hit hard by a bitter winter, Idaho Fish and Game Department officials say.
“No major impacts are expected and hunting should be comparable to last year,” said Phil Cooper, department spokesman in Coeur d’Alene. “Radio-collared elk fared well during the winter.
“Some losses were reported in the upper St. Joe. These may or may not have been higher than normal, but were more visible as elk moved to elevations lower than traditional wintering areas.
“The outlook for Panhandle elk hunters is very good.”
Clearwater region biologists are more concerned about elk bull-cow ratios than winter losses, Parker said. They believe losses were about average for a moderately severe winter. Snow was deep in the high country, but most elk moved down to areas where there was adequate forage and little snow.
“We have extremely good forage conditions this year,” he said. “The animals not only will be scattered, hunting them will be more difficult than usual. The forage is so thick and high in some areas that finding and seeing the animals will be a problem.”
Many of North Idaho’s game management units will be opened to general rifle hunting for deer and elk on Oct. 10. A few backcountry units were opened Sept. 15.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: N. Idaho elk seasons General elk: Oct. 10-Nov. 3. Archery elk: Aug. 30-Sept. 24.