Yellowstone Elk Herd Declines Again
The steady downward trend of the Northern Yellowstone elk herd continued again this past year. New counts released by the Park service show the herd is down another 24% over last year. The Washington Post has a complete write up on the current findings.
"Either we counted them poorly this year, predator effects were stronger, the big snow event made us miss more elk, or more elk were harvested," said Park Service biologist Doug Smith. "Usually the best answer in ecology is all of the above." Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim said state officials would review whether hunting restrictions need to be tightened in future years to help bolster the herd. Yet it's uncertain how much could be done. Harvest limits for reproducing female elk were down to just a few dozen north of the park this year, versus almost 3,000 a season at their peak.