Say good bye to Oregon Elkhunting as we know it.

Discussion in 'Turf and Surf Hunting and Fishing' started by Quigley_Sharps, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    <table id="INCREDIMAINTABLE" border="0" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td id="INCREDITEXTREGION" width="100%">I'm on vacation and have some time on my hands to catch up on some things, here is some info to chew on for you hunters if have found.

    Listed below are the official predation reports done by the Feds for the past 10 years for the Yellowstone wolf re-introduction. You can access the complete reports at The link to the reports is about 2/3 way down the document.

    2009 Report:

    Project staff detected 365 kills (definite, probable,
    And possible combined) made by wolves in 2009, including
    302 elk (83%), 19 bison (5%), 17 deer (2%), 6 wolves (2%),
    4 pronghorn (<1%), 3 coyotes (<1%), 2 red
    Foxes (<1%), 1 moose (<1%), 1 bighorn sheep (<1%),
    1 Canada goose (<1%), 1 bald eagle (<1%), and 8 unknown
    Prey (2%). The composition of elk kills was 36%
    Cows, 29% bulls, 24% calves, and 10% elk of unknown
    Sex and/or age. Bison kills included seven calves, four
    Cows, three bulls, and five unknown sex adults.

    2008 Report:

    Wolf Project staff detected 576 kills (definite, probable,
    And possible combined) made by wolves in 2008,
    Including 463 elk (80%), 23 bison (4%), 19 deer (3%),
    13 coyotes (2%), 11 wolves (2%), 5 pronghorn (<1%), 3
    Moose (<1%), 3 grouse (<1%), 2 bighorn sheep (<1%), 2
    Ravens (<1%), and one each of beaver, golden eagle, grizzly
    Bear, cougar, red fox, and otter, and 26 unknown prey
    (5%). The composition of elk kills was 27% calves (0–12
    Months), 16% cows 1–9 years old, 15% cows 10 years
    Old, 32% bulls, and 10% elk of unknown sex and/or age.
    Bison kills included 7 bulls, 4 calves, 3 cows, and 9 adults
    Of unknown sex.

    2007 Report:

    Wolf Project staff detected 323 kills (definite, probable,
    And possible combined) made by wolves in 2007,
    Including 272 elk (84%), 11 bison (3.4%), 7 wolves
    (2%), 4 deer (1%), 4 coyotes (1%), 3 moose (<1%), 2
    Black bears (<1%), 1 pronghorn (<1%), 1 golden eagle
    (<1%), 1 red fox (<1%), 1 otter (<1%), and 16 unknown
    Prey (5%) (Figure 4). The composition of elk kills was
    41% bulls, 21% calves (0–12 months), 16% cows (1–9
    Years old), 12% old cows (10 years old), and 10% elk
    Of unknown sex and/or age. Bison kills included 6 calves
    (unknown sex), 3 bulls, and 2 unknown sex adults.

    2006 Report:

    Wolf Project staff documented 281 kills (definite,
    Probable, and possible combined) by wolves in 2006, including
    219 elk (80%), 30 bison (14%), 6 coyotes (2%),
    5 wolves (2%), 3 deer (1%), 2 bighorn sheep (<1%), 2
    Moose (<1%), 1 beaver (<1%), 1 golden eagle (<1%),
    And 12 unknown prey (4%) (Figure 8). The composition
    Of elk kills was 32% calves (0–12 months), 31% bulls,
    16% cows (1–9 years old), 14% old cows (10 years
    Old), and 7% elk of unknown sex and/or age. Bison kills
    Included 12 calves (unknown sex), 11 cows, 3 bulls, and
    2 of unknown sex and age.

    2005 Report:

    Wolf Project staff detected 316 kills (defi nite, probable,
    And possible combined) made by wolves in 2005,
    Including 244 elk (77%), 29 bison (9%), 9 wolves (3%),
    6 deer (2%), 4 moose (1%), 4 coyotes (1%), 2 skunks
    (1%), 2 ravens (1%), 1 pronghorn (<1%), 1 badger
    (<1%), and 14 unknown prey (4%). The composition of
    Elk kills was 18% calves (0–12 months), 11% cows (1–9
    Years old), 12% older cows (10 years old), 43% bulls,
    and 16% elk of unknown sex and/or age. Bison kills included
    9 calves (unknown sex), 10 cows, 6 bulls, and 4 of
    unknown sex and age.

    2004 Report:

    Project staff detected 295 kills (defi nite, probable,
    and possible combined) made by wolves in 2004, including
    240 elk (81%), 19 bison (6%), 1 moose (<1%), 4
    deer (1%), 4 pronghorn (1%), 1 badger (<1%), 2 cougars
    (1%), 6 coyotes (2%), 1 golden eagle (<1%), 2 grizzly
    bear cubs (1%), 1 raven (<1%), 3 wolves (1%), and 11
    unknown prey (4%). The composition of elk kills was
    18% calves (0–12 months), 16% cows (1–9 years old),
    16% old cows (10 years old), 38% bulls, and 12%
    elk of unknown sex and/or age (Figure 5). Bison kills included
    4 calves (unknown sex), 8 cows, 5 bulls, and 2 of
    unknown sex and age.

    2003 Report

    [FONT=FAADRL+AGaramond-Regular]Project staff detected 99 definite, 239 probable, and 37 possible kills made by wolves in 2003, including 313 elk (83% of total), 22 bison, (6%), 7 moose (2%), 3 deer (1%), 1 cougar (<1%), 4 coyotes (1%), 4 wolves (1%), 1 porcupine (<1%), 1 sandhill crane (<1%), and 19 unknown prey (5%). The composition of elk kills was 27% calves (0–12 months), 21% cows (1–9 years old), 8% old cows (≥10 years old), 26% bulls, and 17% elk of unknown sex and/or age. Bison kills included 5 calves (unknown sex), 11 cows, 5 bulls, and 1 unknown sex and age.[/FONT]

    [FONT=FAADRL+AGaramond-Regular]2002 Report[/FONT]

    Project staff detected 132 definite, 206 probable, and 8 possible kills made by wolves in 2002, including 291 elk (84% of total), 21 bison, (6%), 4 deer (1%), 4 coyotes (1%), 4 wolves (1%), 1 badger (<0.5%), 1 Canada goose (<0.5%), and 22 unknown prey (6%). The composition of elk kills was 34% calves (0–12 months), 31% cows, 22% bulls, 5% adult elk of unknown sex, and 8% elk of unknown sex and age. Bison kills included 10 calves (un*known sex), 3 yearlings (2 female, 1 male), and 8 adults (3 female, 3 male, 2 unknown sex)

    2001 Report

    Project staff detected 161 definite and 196 probable
    kills made by wolves in 2001, including 311 elk (87% of
    total), 6 bison, (2%), 6 deer (2%), 6 coyotes (2%), 1
    moose (<0.5%), 1 pronghorn (<0.5%), and 26 unknown
    prey (7%). The composition of elk kills was 33% calves
    (0–12 months), 36% cows, 17% bulls, 4% elk of unknown
    sex, and 10% elk of unknown sex and age. Bison
    kills included three calves, two yearlings, and one adult,
    all of unknown sex.

    2000 Report

    Project staff detected 113 definite and 210 pr obable
    kills made by wolves in 2000, including 281 elk (87% of
    total), 10 bison (3%), 4 moose (1%), 5 deer (1.5%), 4
    coyotes (1%), 1 wolf, and 17 unknown prey (5%). The
    composition of elk kills was 34% calves (0–12 months),
    34% cows, 19% bulls, and 13% unknown sex and age.
    Bison kills included three calves, one cow, one bull, and
    four adults of unknown sex. Moose kills included two
    cows, and two of unknown age and sex.
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    Okay, the annual reports done on the Wolf Introduction without question represent the largest research effort ever undertaken regarding wildlife populations. It would be interesting/depressing to know the total amount of federal tax dollars that have been spent on this project. On the other hand, the information being collected will dramatically change our understanding of how predators and prey interact and co-exist, assuming the so called scientists open their eyes and start applying the data to management practices.

    The data was accumulated by tracking all 8 wolf packs for the month of March, and 30 days in Nov-Dec. The numbers counted represent 17% of the year. There is other research that indicates that the bull elk kill in March is higher than at other times of the year, but that is not included in this data.

    My observations:

    1. The theory that wolf predation after the re-introduction would be compensatory (killing animals that would have died anyway of other causes) has now been thoroughly disproven. If you look at the percentages of kill by age and sex, they pretty much mirror the population. Wolves do NOT target the young, old, sick or diseased. They kill whichever animal is handy, regardless of age, condition or sex.

    2. According to the report, Wolves killed 3 Cougars over the 10 year period. One more prediction in the re-introduction documents that is wrong. Some might say that since the report only tracks two 30 day periods, wolves could be killing more Cougars at other times of the year. It seems to me that the logical time for Wolf-Cougar interaction would be in the winter, when snow shrinks the available habitat. That would be two of the months the counts were done. By the way, another prediction, that deer and antelope populations would increase, has not happened as of yet.

    3. The Coyote kill, averaging 5 per year, is also insigificant given the size of the Northern Yellowstone ecosystem. There is some evidence that wolves do kill young coyotes in their dens (has been observed), but no statistical evidence that coyote numbers have been impacted by the re-introduction.

    4. Although not contained in these reports, there is very bad news for the overall Yellowstone elk population in the latest trend counts. After remaining stable at around 6,700 elk from 2007 to 2009, the count this year was slightly more than 6,000. What is particularly concerning is that the total wolf count is down to around 100, from 150 5 years ago. My opinion is that old age and very poor calf/cow ratios are now impacting the population. It is not rocket science, if you don't produce 35-40 calves/100 cows over time, your population will crash. Anyone remember the cow/calf ratios I posted a few days ago for NE Oregon?

    5. What is particularly discouraging is the continued misrepresentation of the situation by many so-called scientists trained in the scientific method. The more time I spend talking to wildlife biologists, the more obvious it is that many of them have no interest in applying the massive amounts of research and data that are being developed, mostly because it would force them to change the way they operate, and make their jobs more difficult. We desperately need professionals with a strong passion for our wildlife populations, and the gonads to take on the current power structure to get things changed. Unfortunately, I don't see people like that in Oregon, for the most part. (I am impressed with the biologist in South central Oregon who has posted on Ifish about the poaching problems. Hope to meet him some day.)

    How does this information impact Oregon, going forward? My predictions:

    1. Those of us who were hopeful that increasing wolves would result in lower levels of Cougar predation will be disapointed. There will be some relocation of Cougars away from areas with high wolf numbers, and likely more Cougar conflicts with us, livestock depradation, etc. But I don't see any reduction in overall Cougar numbers.

    2. Since most of our elk herds in NE Oregon have bull ratios around 10/100 and calf ratios below 25/100, I would expect wolf predation on breeding cows to be much higher than has occurred in the Yellowstone ecosystem. This will result in our elk populations crashing at a faster rate than has occurred in Yellowstone.

    3. ODFW will continue to issue cow tags on elk units that are below management objective, adding to the rate of decline of the populations as wolf numbers increase. We should be demanding that all antlerless tags on units that are below MO, or suffering from very low calf ratios, BE DISCONTINUED IMMEDIATELY..

    Without question, wolves will be one more negative impact on elk populations. The chances that ODFW will stand up and fight once wolf numbers as adopted in the management plan are reached is less than zero, in my opinion. The chance that ODFW will reduce human harvest levels to compensate for increased mortality from other factors is also less than zero, given how they are funded. (See the Idaho example I outlined in another post). The result will be a crash in elk populations that will be much steeper than anything previously experienced since elk populations were brought back from the edge of extinction.

    Not much to look forward to, I am afraid. Enjoy your elk hunting while you can.

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  2. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    I am told that the deer herd in my area was huge, then they let out 2500 doe permits in one season!
  3. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    This is yet one more example of eco-nuts not understanding that people tend to do more harm than good when interfering with the natural order of things. Nature knows what it's doing, bureaucrats really don't. Keeping species from extinction is one thing, but a sensible plan what to do once you have gotten the numbers back up is another.
  4. Conagher

    Conagher Dark Custom Rider Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    And you can thank the Gay Libtards in Salem for letting the government run and dictate what ODFW can/can't do to manage the wildlife herds and predators at acceptable management levels to ensure that the resident hunters who spend millions of dollars each year on licenses, tags, gear, etc, have a chance to fill their tags.
  5. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    I used to live in the Sprague unit/area and was amazed that during the second season in that unit you could shoot a cow. There were not that many elk around to start with and with the klamath indians (I refuse to capitalize them) bag limit of 1 elk and 1 deer a month per person within their old reservation do the math!
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