Humans push elk harder than wolves
Laramie, WY – A study finds that elk respond more strongly to threats from humans than to threats from wolves.
A team of scientists from Montana State University found that elk moved dramatically as soon as hunting season opened, heading to private ranches or Yellowstone National Park, where hunting is not allowed. Meanwhile, the elk made only modest adjustments to their behavior when wolves were close by.
The authors say the findings illustrate one of the difficulties in using hunting to manage elk populations across the West when the ungulates respond very quickly to hunters in the area.
Researchers used radio collars and Global Positioning Satellite to track 43 elk over two winters outside Yellowstone National Park.
The study appeared in the February issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management.