First Meeting of Cody Wyoming Elk Herd Working Group

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Cody, Wyoming has several elk hunting areas, they also have a decreasing population of elk. Game and Fish has created a working group to help with recommendations for these hunting areas; 55, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 66. Their first meeting they spent getting to know each other, saw a power point presentation on the elk herds created by G&F Cody Biologist Doug McWhirter, and worked on setting ground rules. Uncertain still is how they will have a consensus, if it's basic majority or 3/4 majority, so that will be decided at the next meeting, June 22. Public comments will be taken at the end of every meeting and each speaker will be limited to three minutes. This group is a public entity so all their meetings will be available through the Cody, Wyoming Fish and Game website.

Cody's elk herds have migratory and non-migratory herds. The migratory herd numbers are decreasing due to a couple factors; in the migratory area there are more bears and wolves preying on the elk especially the calves, the females are not birthing in consecutive years. McWhirter added that a herd should have a good calf/cow ratio, at least 20 calves for every 100 cows. There was also mention of brucellosis affecting the elk calving numbers, the group would like to have a special presentation on brucellosis in the future, from


groovy mike's picture

I'm not sure why they need a work group to come to consensus.


If the elk herds are decreasing then it is probably a good thing that the state of Wyoming has established a working group to help with recommendations.   I'm not sure why they need a work group to come to consensus though. As sportsman we need to help ensure that we don’t contribute to wiping out a viable breeding population of any game we hunt. So temporarily reducing the number of elk hunting permits to help stabilize the elk herd numbers is in order.

 If the migratory herd numbers are decreasing due to an over abundance of bears and wolves preying on the elk along the migratory route then reducing the numbers in the bear and wolf populations seems to be an obvious solution to me. I am always in favor of hunting as the most sane, economical, and efficient solution to any need to reduce game animal populations. Just increase the number of bear and wolf hunting permits until the population of each predatory species is reduced to a more acceptable level.  A carefully managed (reduced but not eliminated) predator population is good for herd management.  Fewer predatory wolves and bears will mean more deer, elk, and even moose etcetera.

 If brucellosis is a factor then immunization for the elk herd is an option.  If brucellosis is present in the elk herd, that itself would reduce the number of predatory and scavenging animals in the area over time since brucellosis is passed when afterbirth and aborted calves are consumed by those animals precisely like wolves and bears. 

Thanks for sharing the update with us.  Please keep us posted as this topic develops in the future too.