Volunteers killed 462 elk in Theodore Roosevelt National Park this fall in the second year of the North Dakota park’s effort to cut the animals’ population where they face few natural predators.
“It went really smooth,” said Wade Jones, the park’s elk reduction coordinator.
The goal is to have a herd of 100 to 400 animals to lessen competition for forage among elk and other wildlife in the park, like deer, bison and feral horses. This winter, the park will fly a survey to count the elk and then determine plans for the 2012 reduction.
“We’ll definitely be over 400 with this spring’s calves,” Jones said.
It is likely that 2012 will be the final year for a large-scale elk reduction. This year, the breakdown of the elk killed was: 236 cows over 3 years old, 17 subadult elk, 151 yearlings of which 71 were bulls and 58 calves.