Bigger issue than wolves
With the big fury that wolves are killing all the elk in Montana, I thought I would post some information that shows you what is NOT going to happen if every wolf in MT were to die tomorrow of some mysterious disease.
What is NOT going to happen is large increases in elk numbers.
Look at the map below and you will see why.
(click to for larger size)
The units in RED (62 units) are OVER objective in our elk plan. Those are will have the most aggressive season types allowed, including B tags in some units that allow hunters to kill a second cow elk. Or, other very aggressive harvest measures.
The units in GREEN (45 units) are AT objective. That means current season structures will stay in effect to keep numbers at or below current levels.
The units in YELLOW (27 units) are ones where we are BELOW objective and more restrictive seasons will be in place until populations increase and we can then color that unit green.
Look at how few YELLOW units there are and how many RED units there are. The Montana Elk Management Plan, along with the legislatively mandated affects of HB 42, show that we are going to lessen elk numbers in MT, not increase them, even if every wolf died of a mysterious disease tomorrow.
I hope hunters take a look at this and start to understand that even though wolves are a problem, they are not THE ONLY problem. In fact, if we want more elk, they ARE NOT the biggest problem.
Not sure how much more clear this can be painted. Any one wondering why elk numbers have been dropping since the enactment of HB 42 in the 2003 Legilsative session and adoption of the politically driven EMP in 2004, there is your answer.
If every wolf in MT packed and headed back to Canada tomorrow, we would still manage the state for fewer elk than we have today.
I am sure these facts mess up the opinions of some. Feel free to share with anyone, anywhere.
(From Randy Newberg from OYOA)
Even if the wolf is inocent, I dont like them and I donot want any wolves at all, not any. That is how I feel about the wolf, well I was holding back some. The problem you bring attention to is very real. I have hunted in Montana and seen some of the elk habitat that looked like it could support a lot more elk. There were plenty of wolves and grizzly.
I had wondered about some of the quotas set, what I thought was low, for elk in some places. Maybe your post will help motivate some people to come up with a plan. We already know that money is part of the problem. I quit/boycotted Idaho because of the wolf there. Something along those lines could cause some in Montana to rethink the quotas. Game and fish, it seems to me, usually do a very good job of managing the herds if they are allowed. Enviromentalist, on the other hand, use any means to reach their goals. Just my quick two cents worth.
All I see is a bunch of red in central and eastern montana that is predominantly private land that is unhuntable to DIY'ers and there are not many wolves in that area.
The wolf zones areas in the west where most of the public land in Montana lies is mostly yellow and green. I would suspect that if all the wolves packed and went north, the yellow units would return to pre-wolf numbers in a matter of a few years.
I do agree that wolves are not the only problem. Energy development, loss of habitat, and the tons of herbicides and pesticides used in agriculture certainly all have a negative role for wildlife.
Wolves in the wild, and wolves in government. Both bring significant problems, and both need to be controlled.
I'm not sure any unit is over populate with elk IMO, wish I saw this prior to a hunt a couple years ago, I hunted one of the "under populated" units, and that certainly was the case, wolves were ramped in the area!
If planning a hunt I would certainly try to hunt an "over populated unit, or at least avoid an under populated unit"
I'd be curious to know bull:cow ratios, many of the big bull states seem to average 25-50 bulls to 100 cows, and I feel many of the non-trophy elk states/units are running 10 bulls/100cows or less!
Originally Posted by HuskyMusky
the MT elk management plan requires a change in regulations when the bull to cow ratio drops under 10/100. That is why area 270 is a draw this year.
There are many units where elk are over objective. The objective numbers take into account many factors, including hunter opportunity and crop damage. Believe it or not, there are many farmers that want to see the elk gone.
I hear ya on the farmers not wanting elk on their property, of course from what I gather they want more private tags they can sell to hunters and outfitters vs. either going into block management or just letting hunters more access.
Originally Posted by Bitterroot Bulls
So I could just about care less about farmers/ranchers who refuse to let hunters take care of the elk on their land. Pretty simple fix IMO.
Personally I'd like to see general tags gone and make all tags a draw, even if they're unlimited and 100% they should only be good for 1 region, or 1or2 units, not the entire state. Although I won't stress too much over this, let the state worry about it, but it seems like pretty much common sense. oh well. I'll just spend my money in states with quality management etc... eventually they'll all learn/catch up.
I find it hard to believe units bordering Yellowstone are at objective. Montana will have to make some big changes before I go back as well.
Originally Posted by HuskyMusky
About the land owners complaining about the elk and wainting to sell the tags for their benefit, a similar thing happened years ago where I live in wyoming the ranchers were complaining about to many elk in the area. At the time there was not a designated elk season in that area the game and fish created and elk season there and released very few tags a year. Then shortly after they made a season for that area the same land owners were complaining about how few elk there were.
Landowners in MT don't get tags to sell.
I agree that it doesn't seem right that they complain about game damage if they don't allow access to hunters, but I guess it is their property.