Brett French reports: Elk population surges south of Red Lodge following 2021 Robertson Draw fire
By angelamontana

Posted: February 1, 2024

In 2021 a 30,000-acre wildland fire spread across the Beartooth Mountains south of Red Lodge. Two years later, new growth springing up in the fire’s wake has attracted numerous elk. Last fall the herd was estimated at 600 to 800 animals spread along the base of the mountain range. Some are believed to have migrated north from Wyoming. That has raised concerns, since some elk in Wyoming have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, as well as brucellosis. At the last meeting of the Fish and Wildlife Commission, an amendment was passed to increase the ability of hunters to kill elk at the base of the Beartooths. There are large portions of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management acreage in the region, but the fire has also wiped out a lot of the cover a hunter might need to sneak close to an elk.

To learn more about the fire, its effects, and the attraction of the burn to elk, check out my story at

Written by Brett French | Outdoors Editor | Billings Gazette
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