Reviewing Montana’s Statewide Elk Management Plan

By Warren Illi
The Daily Interlake
December 14, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

MONTANA — Elk hunting is big business in Montana. …While there are a number of reasons for the elk population decline, the writings list the decline primarily on the declining amount of high-quality summer and early fall elk habitat. …During the 1980s and 1990s… extensive logging road construction was necessary to access the timber resource. This allowed the continued growth, for a decade or two, of ground cover that included the ideal late spring, summer and early fall food sources for deer and elk. Deer and elk grew fat. With this layer of fat, deer and elk could easily survive Montana’s cold snowy winters. …But in the 1960s, Congress passed a number of new environmental laws that environmental groups used to halt most new timber sales on public land. What was surprising to me is that the new elk plan seemed to imply that the need for nutritious summer habitat is a new biological discovery.

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