Elk Management Plan Background Information
Sunday, March 9, 2014
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is proposing Statewide Elk Management Directions and specific elk zone objectives and strategies based on the current status of elk populations and hunter preferences.
As part of the Department’s evaluation, factors such as weather, predation, and habitat that might limit the ability for managers to maintain or increase elk numbers in each zone were considered. Department staff also evaluates harvest and hunter trends both at the statewide level and at the zone level.
The statewide harvest and hunter participation data, as well as the zone level harvest and hunter participation data is provided here for your review. Maps are also available depicting what department staff considers to be the most common limiting factors for Idaho’s elk populations. Common limiting factors are agricultural impacts (crop and property damage), predation, and habitat limitations.
The number of elk that can be supported in any given elk management zone is influenced by many factors including weather, predation, hunter harvest, habitat quality, and the need to minimize elk-based crop and property damage (agricultural impacts). One or more of these factors can often be identified as the most severe “limiting” factor that prevents an elk herd from growing further or limits the ability of wildlife managers to maintain current elk herd numbers.
Fish and Game staff have determined the most likely limiting factor in each of Idaho’s proposed 28 elk zones based on flight surveys, elk population trends over 10 or more years, changes to available habitat, reported agricultural impacts (crop and property damage), known or suspected causes of elk mortality, and other data and elk management experience. The severity of each limiting factor has also been calculated and classified as low, moderate or high.
The most common limiting factors for Idaho’s elk populations are agricultural impacts (crop and property damage), predation, and habitat. Severity of these limiting factors varies across Idaho, and even within zones.