ALL NEWS

Elk move to private land when hunting season starts, say BYU researchers

Feb 16, 2022, 3:31 PM | Updated: Feb 17, 2022, 12:54 pm

FILE: Singular bull elk peers in the direction of the camera Photo: Department of Wildlife Services...

FILE: Singular bull elk peers in the direction of the camera Photo: Department of Wildlife Services

PROVO, Utah — A new study finds that Elk in Utah may have figured out when the hunting season is, and that they move accordingly.

This information is the result of a collaborative effort between the Division of Wildlife Resources, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, Rocky Mountain Elk, and Brigham Young University. They wanted to learn why, when hunting season starts, Elk move from public lands to private lands.

“It had become a conundrum,” said Brock McMillan, a professor of wildlife ecology at BYU. “And our research indicated that, sure enough, on opening day of the hunt, elk would move off of public land and onto private land.

“On the closing day of the hunt they would move back onto public land,” McMillen said.

“It’s almost like they’re thinking, ‘Oh, all these trucks are coming, it’s opening day, better move.”

Enticing to think about, the elk movement presented a problem

While the information may be fun to think about for those who would rather aim a camera lens at wildlife than a rifle, the movement of the elk to privately owned land can be a problem for those landowners as well as the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Dense elk populations can cause harm to habitats across Utah. And they can disrupt farming operations by stealing food from the livestock that live on private lands. 

This potential for disruption is the reason that Utah is bound by law to manage the elk population. So, the BYU researchers also looked into the effectiveness of a program implemented in 2016 that allows private landowners to issue special hunting permits, with the aim of putting pressure on the herds to move back. 

“When they implemented the private-land-only hunt, fewer elk moved onto private lands meaning that there were move elk available on public land. And it let the state manage elk populations better,” McMillen said.

Is it instinct?

McMillen said that animals live in a landscape of fear. From human hunters and cougars, they are constantly in a fight for their lives.  

“I think that they have evolved to be wary all of the time,” he said. “And it’s not too far fetched to think that they can associate, ‘oh look, there’s a thousand trucks coming onto the mountain today, there’s maybe a hunting season open tomorrow,’ after they’ve lived through it for a few years.”

As a result of the research, Utah has permanently implemented private-land hunting permits for elk. 

Related reading:

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night ...

MEG KINNARD and WILL WEISSERT Associated Press

Trump wins South Carolina, easily beating Haley in her home state and closing in on GOP nomination

Donald Trump won South Carolina's Republican primary on Saturday further consolidating his path to a third straight GOP nomination.

3 hours ago

A multi-vehicle collision involving three cars on northbound I-15 at 10600 S has caused delays afte...

Derrick Jones

I-15 collisions affecting weekend traffic

SALT LAKE CITY — A multi-vehicle collision involving three cars on northbound I-15 at 10600 S has caused delays after a truck pulling a trailer rolled over, blocking three lanes. Mike Alexander from the Utah Highway Patrol has confirmed that the injuries reported were minor. Emergency responders quickly attended to the scene. The cause of […]

4 hours ago

A man looks for a break in traffic as he crosses 300 West at a busy pedestrian area between Walmart...

Kennedy Camarena

Three pedestrian involved car accidents have SLCPD reminding the public about road safety

After three car accidents occurred within the same week, all with injury to pedestrians, SLCPD is reminding road users about road safety.

6 hours ago

SWAT officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department stand in a driveway after they and patrol o...

Kennedy Camarena

Suspect arrested by SLCPD and SWAT after threatening medical workers with a gun

Salt Lake City Police Department and their SWAT team were able to safely arrest a man who threatened Gold Cross employees with a gun.

12 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump walks on stage during the 2024 NRB International Christian Media Conv...

Fredreka Schouten, CNN

Wisconsin ethics panel recommends criminal prosecution for a Trump fundraising committee

A Wisconsin ethics panel is recommending that prosecutors pursue charges against one of Donald Trump’s fundraising arms.

14 hours ago

Handcuffs are shown against a black background....

Alexander Campbell, ksltv

Salt Lake City man charged with credit union robbery

After the robbery of a Cyprus Credit Union in West Valley, a federal grand jury formally charged Joey Shaun Symond with the crime.  

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Elk move to private land when hunting season starts, say BYU researchers