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Posted: April 24, 2018

Elk survey shows sharp population drop

A recent survey shows that elk numbers in the East Kootenay have declined sharply in the past decade.

The East Kootenay Wildlife Association (EKWA) released some results of an aerial inventory game count completed this winter for elk in the East Kootenay (below 1,200m elevation).

A stakeholder on the Kootenay Wildlife Hunting Advisory Committee, the EKWA this morning shared survey results on Facebook.

East Kootenay elk (MU-s 4-02 to 4-04, 4-20 to 4-22, 4-24 to 4-26) population estimate (total elk):

2018 – 6,700 to 6,900 elk;
2008 – 14,115 elk;

Approximate 50% decline in 10 years.

The 2018 survey also showed:

Calves per 100 cows = 38;
Bulls per hundred cows = 14.

Also reported to EKWA, “Bull harvest appears to have been increasing even though the population was decreasing. (Final numbers for the licensed hunter bull harvest is not yet complete).

“Spike bull harvest is estimated to account for 25% of the bull harvest; illegal bull elk take (five points and smaller) from self reports and abandoned kills could potentially make up five per cent of the total bull harvest.”

EKWA also noted that the only proposed regulation changes are: eliminate spike bull season; reduce/eliminate cow LEH tags.

“There is still no plan to recover elk and no objectives for the elk population or hunter harvest. #managingtozero,” EKWA stated on Facebook.


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