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Location: Alberta, Canada
Joined: 06/15/2004
Posts: 4
Elk hunting opportunity could come to an end!

I’m an outfitter from Alberta, Canada. We hunt in the foothills and the majestic Rocky Mountains along the border of Jasper National Park. This area is breathtaking for scenery and has tremendous trophy opportunities for big game hunters. Recently part of our area was changed from a wildlife preserve to an open hunting area. This parcel is neighbouring Jasper National Park, and therefore when the wild cows come into estrus they draw the huge “Park Bulls” out onto public land, which brings me to my point. There are “people” creating obstacles for those of us who legally hunt this area! The “buzz” is they would like this area to be closed to hunting again because, they say that it is unfair to the Elk who are protected for most of the season! What about the hunters? They pay good money each year from their licenses towards having places like this to hunt. The rest of the zone has the same boundary as this area does, and the same potential holds true for the Mule deer, Whitetail, Moose, and Sheep but you don’t hear any fuss about them like you do the Elk.
Many big bulls get hit on the highway each year in this area as well as in the park! Is this a better solution? Is it really better to lose an animal to a motor vehicle, in which case the meat will not be used, or the hide? If a hunter takes the animal, he will use 85% to 90% of the animal, and feed his family at the same time. With an animal of this size, most of the people that hit an elk do tremendous damage to themselves, and to their vehicle. Fish and Wildlife opened the area do to the massive population of Elk and other game here, and the mortality rate to these animals from motor vehicle collisions is huge. To also help reduce occurrences, they have now opened a cow Elk draw there this 2004 season.
Certain individuals in our area would rather see an Elk hit on the side of the road suffering, then a hunter shoot one, and use it for food, and perhaps take his trophy of a lifetime. Granted some of these animals spend most of the year behind the safe borders of Jasper unbothered. The park has world-class genetics and helps produce some truly first-rate bulls that become legal to hunt once they leave the safe confines of the Park but, these same people who are complaining now, had the chance to speak up before and did nothing. Now there has been a lot of attention drawn to our zone over the last 2 years because about 12 - 14 huge bulls have been taken here scoring over 370 B&C. We have had 3 bulls gross scoring well over 395 B&C, and one 7x8 monster netting 404 B&C. The outfitters only accounted for 4 of the huge bulls being taken. Local hunters harvested the other 8 – 10 bulls.
I guess the tourists that visit Jasper see the Elk on the side of the road, and figure they are tame animals, so it is unfair to hunt them. These same bulls could kill you in an instant during the rut if challenged, and the cow’s could, and have done the same to protect their young if they feel threatened. Make no mistake; even in Jasper, if given the chance, they will defend themselves. All it will take is one stupid individual to be run at, or attacked by one of these elk for them to realize, that they are as wild as the Elk that live outside of the Park. For these reasons, park wardens have put Elk down (shot) in Jasper in the past. It is not like the wildlife is herded up at night and put to pasture during the day. The Park does have predators of its own, but for different reasons (tourists, trains, etc.) the predation proportion of animals in the park is low.
Now, it’s next to impossible for me to give a biased opinion, I outfit 2/3 of the non-resident tags for this area, but I know this could start to turn into an issue, so I’m looking for some other views and information. Has anyone had anything like this occur in your area? Write me if you have any input or, if you would like more information.
Thanks in advance,
Lain

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