Yellowstone elk numbers decline

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  • joseywales Park City, UT
    March 27, 2013 6:00 p.m.

    SG- I agree. It's funny to read some of the comments from some who think that because wolves were mismanaged and killed to the brink of extinction by man decades ago, that they shouldn't be given another chance again in their historic environment. If I started a cattle operation in the mountains of the west, I would know that I would lose a few animals to predators. I would also know I would lose twice as many to the elements, and even a few more to poachers or thieves. Why do ranchers get compensated for losing a few of their herd? It was their decision to set up shop where they did. If I set up shop in a bad part of town and had higher theft numbers, would the feds compensate me for that, or laugh at my decision on where to set up shop?

    Wolves were in the west before ranchers and landowners. As stated above, it's weird how before man intervened, that elk, moose, and wolves co-existed without trouble. Cry baby ranchers and hunters shouldn't have the say in what happens to an animal that was on earth before them.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    March 27, 2013 3:14 p.m.

    I agree with xscribe’s original comment that this was generally a poorly-written article. It is really more of an op-ed snippet than an objective news article, and its placement next to the article about Senator Hatch’s efforts to “de-list” wolves amounts to nothing less than a smear of wolves on the DN’s part.

    I don’t think of the wolf as a particularly noble or a particularly vile animal, just as I don’t think of elk as either noble or vile; they are both simply wildlife, and I enjoy viewing wildlife, especially megafauna like elk and wolves. I do, however, think that the extirpation of wolves in the early 20th century was both ignoble and vile.

    The funny thing is that, prior to the 1800s, when man began to intervene, wolves (and other apex predators) and elk (and other ungulates) coexisted in more or less stable populations for millennia. In light of this fact, the claim that reintroduced wolves will singlehandedly decimate Western United States elk populations in a few short decades (or indeed, at all) rings pretty hollow to me.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    March 26, 2013 2:54 p.m.

    Mountanman: Your question did not ask about Yellowstone National Park, did it? I have seen with my own eyes deer and elk with only their heads cut off, with the rest of the carcass left to rot. Now, if you'd like me to believe that it was a wolf that did that, that is your perogative. Also, if only viewing something makes you an expert, then we are all experts at lots of things, aren't we?

    However, it seems you would rather argue about whether or not I have seen something exclusively in Yellowstone - again which your question did not ask about - rather than what most of us know: This is mostly about whether or not an elk herd is going to be around for your hunting enjoyment, and secondarily about farmers' and ranchers' animal herds being killed!

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 26, 2013 2:29 p.m.

    @ Xscribe. Nice try but there is no hunting in Yellowstone Park so none of your theories about hunters killing the elk hold any water. I have never seen a hunter kill an elk and leave it to rot, but I have seen where wolves have done it and so have dozens of other people who actually get out in the mountains. Being a wolf "expert" without observing a wolf is like being an erotologist without observing an insect.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    March 26, 2013 12:46 p.m.

    Mountanman: I have seen all of the above. As to the dead carcasses laying on the ground, I have also seen that, only with just their heads cut off for the trophy antlers. I just don't think it was the wolves that did that. This isn't all about wolves and what they hunt; this is trying to find a scapegoat for why an elk herd might be dropping because it is taking away a person's thrill of going out and shooting an animal, no different, as some say, from a wolf's thrill of killing an animal!

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 26, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    Xscribe. Have you ever actually SEEN a wolf in the wild? Have you actually SEEN dead elk carcasses laying on the ground with only the rear ends eaten out and the rest left to waste? Come to Idaho and I will show you what you the truth about wolves!

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    March 26, 2013 8:58 a.m.

    This was a poorly written article, with zero facts or figures stating that wolves are the main cause of the decline, and not a mention as to whether or not the decline is good or bad. But what the article did mention was that wolves, man, bears, and other predators, and varying weather conditions, all have played a role. Now look at the posters and see which predator they choose to be the culprit. And why? So they can play their little game of let me get a gun and go shoot a defenseless animal. I particularly liked this little gem: "Wolves do not kill to just eat, they kill for the fun of the kill." Huh! Wonder what other predator does that?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 26, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    We have wolves running out our ears here in Idaho and just like Yellowstone, our elk population has fallen below the biological sustainability (recruitment) rate in many areas. We are allowed to hunt wolves here but their numbers are still increasing in spite of wildlife managers attempts to control their population. Last week wolves killed a cow elk within 2 miles of my home and for the first time in anyone's memory, we have yet to see an elk this winter. As in Yellowstone, our elk here are in serious trouble.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 26, 2013 8:15 a.m.

    Complete and utter nonsense posted above by people who have no understanding of Yellowstone and its elk and wolf history. Instead of facts, they post histrionics.

    The elk herd in Yellowstone has been beyond the park range's carrying capacity for years. Winter kill of elk has been tremendous as a result. Now with help from wolves and some other possible climatic factors, the elk herds are reaching toward a more natural and better number.

  • North Guy Corinne, UT
    March 26, 2013 8:03 a.m.

    If you are one of those people that love to see animals in yellowstone, the door is closing extremely fast to do so. Wolves have decimated the herds, you can't find moose anywhere and as mentioned in the article Elk are going fast. Buffalo as big and strong as they are, are also on the menu to be decimated. It's time for us sportsmen to unite before it is too late, after all look what a small group of "wolf lovers" have done to destroy our herds. Utah's herds will also be victimized if nothing is done.

  • HS Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    March 26, 2013 7:54 a.m.

    Numbers decline from what? I have read where there are more deer and elk in America now than there was when the pilgrims landed. I have also read where naturalist say that the ecosystem in Yellowstone is very healthy and they feel the reintroduction of the wolf is one of the reasons why. I don't want hunters, NRA, or some environmental groups dictating what our National Parks and wild places are. As a society, for future generations, we have decided that we will try to have areas managed in as natural state as possible. We have to let our naturalists and scientist be the ones who do this.

    March 25, 2013 8:25 p.m.

    If you were to open up a year around hunt on wolves you would not get rid of them. They only way to reduce their numbers is to go back to how they got rid of them the first time, poisoning them is the only way to reduce their numbers.

    Utah has spent the last 20 years building their elk populations, just wait and see what the population will be in 10 years. Wolves are going to decimate Utah elk herds, wolves do not kill to just eat, they kill for the fun of the kill.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 25, 2013 7:53 p.m.

    Nobody cares about the decline of the elk. Everything wolf "experts" told us about wolves is a lie.