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Author Topic: Of Meadows, Wolves, and Wapiti........  (Read 884 times)

Online WapitiTalk1

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Of Meadows, Wolves, and Wapiti........
« on: April 08, 2018, 08:39:46 AM »
Elk love meadows for the most part. Sun kissed grasses that possess quality nutrients, pasture type grazing, more bang for the buck during feeding), and some really good terrain to bed down in (elk prefer flat to steep whenever feasible and safe to catch up on their ZZZ's). This said, much is predator (hunter pressure and yep, wolf dependent). It also depends on the overall layout of the area. For example, there are areas that contain many meadows per square mile so in a way, too much of a good thing; it's a crap shoot to pick which meadow the big galoots may frequent. Elk are notorious for becoming almost nocturnal to feed during the fall. They will certainly frequent the salad bars in lush meadows but will only do so at night once the first stinky hunter makes their presence known. Listening from vantage points, even doing some distant location bugles, can reap rewards if you've found fresh sign in a meadow/meadows and wish to confirm who is hanging out there. For these nighttime feeding elk, one needs to pattern travel routes to/from the meadows and be there right before dark and a few minutes before the sun pops in the morning to have an opportunity to intercept. All this said, there is a phenomenon/concept I happen to have seen in the past handful of years that will make elk avoid meadows like the plague. In areas that hold elk, and, are predominately alder choked.... one would think that the few natural meadows located in said areas would be elk magnets, right? Well, they are in a way but after the grey's have made it more than known that they are very successful at killing elk in said meadows, the locals will eventually avoid these feeding areas. Below is a few pictures of what I call "the killing fields" in a couple of rare natural meadows in an area I've hunted in N ID for a handful of years. Remember, gray wolves are not native to the lower 48... these are Canadian wolves that have been born/bred to hunt more open areas in Canada/Alaska very successfully I might add. The transplants prefer to hunt more open areas (i.e., meadows) where they can group attack big game more effectively. This is why the patterns/mannerisms of elk in these types of areas have changed over the years in my observations. I'm not saying that the wolves don't hunt/kill elk in thicker areas, but, its a bit more difficult for them. These elk in the really thick areas have changed their feeding, bedding, even travel and rutting area patterns in an attempt to avoid wolf contact..... Here's a few pics of the killing fields in one of my areas in N ID. The wolves continued to frequent the area well after the kills to chew on bones and mark the area. If I was an elk, I would probably try to avoid these areas whenever possible.  Thoughts on my observations? 
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Offline buglebrush

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Re: Of Meadows, Wolves, and Wapiti........
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2018, 08:50:01 AM »
I've noticed this change in the last 15 years as well.  The Glory days are long gone my friends.

Offline zwickeyman

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Re: Of Meadows, Wolves, and Wapiti........
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2018, 09:05:36 AM »
You are spot on. One of the more damaging things to the herds health is where they calve now. Where they used to calve in the big meadows they now calve in thick, steep timber. Cow and calf health is greatly being affected

Offline Mudman

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Re: Of Meadows, Wolves, and Wapiti........
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2018, 09:23:34 AM »
Makes perfect sense to me.  It seems the elk are similar to hunting here in west Wa in pressured areas (everywhere)! I will find out soon enough.  The Nocturnal behavior is what always frustrated me the most around here.  I wonder if herd size changes the pattern or if its irrelevant?  Smaller groups vs larger herd numbers.  Imagine not likely. 
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Offline idaho guy

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Re: Of Meadows, Wolves, and Wapiti........
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2018, 04:22:35 PM »
Agree 100 percent and have seen and noticed the same things. First meadow looks very similar to an area I used to hunt but bailed out due to wolf infestation. I havenít been up there for over five years but I am going to go at least check it out this year

Offline nitroelk

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Re: Of Meadows, Wolves, and Wapiti........
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2018, 06:09:17 AM »
IMO the only good wolf is a dead wolf

Offline buglebrush

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Re: Of Meadows, Wolves, and Wapiti........
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2018, 10:53:56 AM »
IMO the only good wolf is a dead wolf



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