Elk NetworkStudy: Human Activity Impacts Contact between Wintering Elk

General | February 19, 2021

A new study indicates human activity has a measurable impact on elk. Researchers placed GPS collars on elk to monitor their amount of contact on the National Wildlife Refuge in western Wyoming compared to other activity there such as supplemental feeding.

“When feeding is occurring, your average pair of elk would spend about one third of the day together,” Will Janousek, U.S. Geological Survey biologist, told Wyoming Public Media. “When feeding wasn’t occurring, they would only spend about one tenth of the day together.”

Janousek also indicated hunting made elk 23 percent less likely to be in groups.

Weather patterns, such as heavy snow, also led to the gathering of elk.

(Photo credit:  Erica Huber)