ODFW Grant to Fund Elk Habitat Improvements

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Elk will have improved habitat and local ranchers will see reduced crop damage as a result of a $48,544 grant awarded to the Pilot Butte Hereford Ranch through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Access and Habitat Program. The ranch is located about seven miles east of Prineville in Crook County.

The project goal is to attract elk to upland areas to keep them away from valuable croplands where they may cause damage. This will be accomplished by developing reliable water sources, planting feeding plots and cutting junipers in the higher elevations. The number of elk killed by motor vehicles as they cross highways to feed on agricultural lands will also be reduced.

More than 1,300 acres of wildlife habitat will be improved by the project. In return, the landowner will allow public hunting on 4,800 acres of private lands on a by-permission basis for six years.

In addition to ODFW, other contributors to the project include the landowner, Oregon Hunters Association, Crook County Soil and Water Conservation District, OSU-Crook County Extension Service, Crook County , Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.

Created by the Oregon Legislature in 1993, the A&H Program is funded by a $2 surcharge on hunting licenses. Funds raised by the program are distributed through grants to individual and corporate landowners, conservation organizations, and others for cooperative wildlife habitat improvement and hunter access projects throughout the state.