View Full Version : elk herd mgt?

Lost Arra
09-19-2009, 06:59 AM
After reading Scoutin' Wyo's thread (with great envy) I had a question regarding elk herd management.

Scoutin' Wyo wrote: >>letting the public on for a limited time cow hunt to help herd numbers<<

I don't live in an elk state but the average orange army deer hunter around here isn't interested in shooting a doe but they will blast the first young buck that walks by. This results in the usual effects on our herd and one of the reasons you won't see trophy whitetail hunters flocking to Oklahoma.

Is there a similar problem getting elk hunters to shoot cows? I only bow hunt and I never hesitate to shoot a doe and I sure wouldn't hesitate to shoot a cow elk. I buy the either *** elk tag every year out of superstition knowing if I buy the less costly cow tag I'll probably have a monster bull sipping my coffee.

The reason I ask is that the bull elk is such a magnificent animal that I would assume some hunters have their mind only on that trophy and would pass up a cow opportunity. This mindset might be different for in-state vs out of state hunters since the in-state guys usually have more time to fill their tag.

09-19-2009, 07:27 AM
Arra, Some might be only interested in a bull only tag, but it has been my experience that most elk hunters would be happy with a cow. I am in it for the meat, but horns horn me up, too. I try for an either*** tag like you. I'll take the first critter that offers itself. If you think that most would not accept a cow only hunt, just look at all the non-res guys that come out every year. When the CDOW raised the fees, most were not willing to pay the higher cost of a bull tag. They still make the yearly trek to our fine state for the cow experience........

09-19-2009, 07:56 AM
Well, the other thing is the kind of tags that are made available. I'm not that familiar with Wyoming but when the DOW in CO wants to manage the herd numbers in a particular unit, they make cow tags the bulk of what's available. Like in Unit 61, a trophy bull unit here, to draw a bull tag takes maybe 12 points but to draw a cow tag takes 1 or maybe 2. ANd for second tags that's how it is for just about all if not all of the second tags you can get here, they have to be cow tags from a unit above the population objective.

Scoutin' Wyo
09-19-2009, 11:05 AM
In this particular unit, there is very limited public access to the National Forest. So picture a big mountain that is all public land, but almost completely surrounded by private land. So, if a fella is going to hunt the mountain (public ground) he/she must pack through the public access trails a few miles to hunting areas. This fact alone tends to breed a hunter that is burning serious boot leather and is wanting something to show for it, ie; HORNS. Now if a fella doesn’t fill his either *** tag the G&F has extended that either *** tag to include over two weeks of hunting in November for cows only. Problem. During November the snow has been falling in the high (public) country and most of the cows and calves are pushed into the lower ground (private). So here are hundreds of hunters willing to shoot a cow in the extended cow only season, but only a small hand full are able to access the private ranches, or the dozen people that are let to hunt those private ranches through the Hunter Management Access Program. Still the elk numbers continue to boom and the G&F are left scratching their heads wondering how to get the herd numbers in check.

If you are a rancher and have a big herd of elk come crashing into yer place and eat up two tons of hay in one night, you can call up the G&F and place a crop damage claim. The state will cut you a fat check based upon the going rate of hay and amount consumed by “the state’s” hungry elk. Well the G&F will NOT cut you a check if you don’t let some general public on yer land to hunt each year. So, you being the savvy rancher you are, let the bare minimum hunt your private stash of elk since you probably have an outfitter paying buku bucks for the premium time frames and premium portions of yer land.

Add this together with a $300 dollar (non-res) cow tag and you can start to see the picture that the State is up against.

And yes the general open units with either *** tages have horrible bull/cow ratios because more times than not people will shoot the spike instead of the cow standing along side it.

Big W
09-19-2009, 12:48 PM
In my area of eastern Washington cow tags are over the counter for archery. Success rate are very low because the elk in my area are "brush elk". They stay in the thickest timber you could imagine almost imposable to hunt or even walk through. At night they come into hay Fields. A farmer complained for years because elk damage in his field(about 60 a night in a 100 acre field) so they started a "damage tag system". To get these tags you must go though classes, read books, do community service and take a test. Then you are what they call an "Advanced Hunter" and you get two cow tags. You can hunt August to January with any weapon in the special damage control area.

My grandpa has this certification and gets at least one cow every year. Most people around my area are meat hunters and don't care if its a cow. Now after a couple years of this system there is little groups of 3 or 4 elk and only about 12 elk in the field at night. In this same farmers field before this went in to effect my gradpa took aa elk that placed in the world record book for muzzleloader that scored almost 350 i think.