Elk numbers remain strong in the Northern Yellowstone elk herd. Calf to cow ratios are high, meaning the herd is growing slightly. That’s a good thing, right? Well, yes and no. The problem is that more of the herd than ever is migrating into Montana in the winter – this year about 89 percent. Montana’s population goal for the herd is 3,000 to 5,000 animals. The herd has leveled off at about 5,000 the past three years. Another dilemma is that brow-tined bulls had been declining until new restrictions were initiated this last season. That seemed to help bump the ratio of bulls up a bit, but not enough to make FWP comfortable.
To read more about the complications of managing this unique and closely watched herd, check out my story in this week’s Billings Gazette at http://bgz.tt/6f6y3.
(Written by Brett French – Outdoors Editor for the Billings Gazette)