A study funded partly by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation indicates the mountain pine beetle infestation in the Elkhorn Mountains of southwest Montana had some impact on the elk.
The study headed up by Kelly Proffitt, a wildlife researcher with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, monitored 60 elk (35 cows, 25 bulls) wearing radio collars. It shows the elk that used public lands during the archery and rifle hunting seasons selected security areas with a minimum canopy cover of 23 percent and located a minimum of 1.1 miles from motorized routes. The research offered new recommendations for defining security habitat on public land to provide adequate security for cow and bull elk during the hunting seasons and discourage elk redistributions to private land.
“It always involves public hunters, private landowners, various land management agencies and changing habitat conditions,” Deleray said. “This study gives us important information on habitat and the needed security to help keep elk on public lands during the hunting seasons.”
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(Photo source: Craig Miller)