A new study, funded in part by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, found pressure from hunting can change the behavior of elk as well as the habitat they use.
Scientists captured and collared more than 370 cow elk between January 2015 and March 2017 in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and surrounding area of central Utah. They found that during hunting season, elk tend to stay away from roads and closer to cover. Additionally, they tend to gravitate toward private land as a refuge as they also alter their daily activities to avoid hunters.
- Elk may cover more ground and expend more energy to avoid hunters
- Elk herds may be smaller during hunting season
- Older elk are more adept at avoiding hunters
- Bull elk showed greater response to hunting pressure than cows
- Mature bull elk cover more ground than younger bulls and cows
- Older cow elk covered less ground but utilized more rugged country as cover
Go here for more information about the study.
(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)