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Author Topic: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause  (Read 4285 times)

Offline Landowner

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Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« on: May 12, 2021, 05:43:14 PM »
I'm on the committee giving input on this important issue.  Committee is 1 County Commissioner from each of  Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield and Asotin counties, 1 landowner from each of the 4 counties who have seen firsthand the substantial elk decline and live in the middle of the many predators, and a handful of WDFW staff with some horsepower.  I'm a pessimist by nature, but satisfied so far that WDFW is taking this seriously.  Elk count is down by close to a couple thousand over past few years.  Slow process to get there, and slow process to get action in place to address it.  But gotta have the science to back up the next steps---including potentially dealing with the well funded predator advocates.   We have  a major problem--but you already knew that.  Stay tuned. 

https://wdfw.wa.gov/news/wdfw-begins-blue-mountains-elk-calf-monitoring-project

Offline Magnum_Willys

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Re: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2021, 05:45:29 PM »
Great!   5 packs hunting em 24/7/365 canít be helping!

Offline trophyhunt

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Re: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2021, 06:02:31 PM »
Itís good to hear there will be some landowners to give input, at least you anyway. Iím not sure how the rest feel.  The blues elk problem is the biggest let down this state has let happen!!
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Offline dvolmer

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Re: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2021, 10:00:24 PM »
Our hunting party had 5 rifle bull tags for Dayton back in 2006 and one in 2007.  We had a wonderful experience hunting those years and shot some real nice bulls and saw lots of elk.  In 2019 I drew Dayton again after 13 years.  I talked to the Biologist before my hunt and he said numbers were down due to two bad winters.  This was an understatement to say the least.  I hunted hard for two weeks and the last weekend of the extended season I shot a small 5X5 bull off of Chase Mountain and was lucky to get it.  I only saw one big bull my entire hunt and it was in a group over on Newby ridge and way to far away.  The interesting thing that I noticed over my two weeks hunting was the lack of calves with cows.  I probably saw 60 or so different cows during my hunt and not even one of them had a calf.  The cows themselves looked fat and healthy.  This is probably due to them not having to care or nurse calves. So the main problem in the blues is the lack of calves or calf survival.  I saw one lone wolf over on Page Ridge while hunting and some of the guys camping over on Chase mountain saw a pack of wolves along with another hunter who drew the Watershed who saw 5 wolves.  So if you are seeing wolves while you hunt, you know there is a lot more than what you are seeing.  Its like seeing a mouse run across your garage floor.  If you are seeing them then you know you have a serious problem.  So the wolves, cats, and bears are having a heyday on the newborns would be my best bet.  In 2019 when I hunted for my quality bull, I talked to lots of hunters and visited about every camp in the Dayton area.  In the National Forest area within the Dayton area, I believe only one spike was shot in the entire rifle season and it was over on Newby ridge.  I cant account for the private land areas in the unit.  Another issue in these units is out of control native hunting.  Year around seasons, no reporting obligations, and a limit of one elk a day per native hunter is decimating the big bull numbers.  20 years ago the natives were hunting for sustenance reasons and I'm sure some still are.  But now that a trophy set of horns is worth so much money, the big bulls are being targeted.  The game biologist that I talked with in 2019 said he hadn't been in the unit in the last couple of months so I know they have no clue as to how much of this hunting is going on and to what is being taken by the natives.  I have seen some private photos of native harvest in Dayton, Wenaha, and Tucannan in the last few years and they were very impressive.  They can hunt the rut with a rifle and shoot a bull a day each!  Doesn't take a math degree to see where that will take ya!  Good luck on your meetings.  Like you mentioned in your post above, not to sure anything will or can be done.  There are still some nice bulls in these units if you are willing to kill yourself looking and your a lucky devil, but its nothing like it used to be.  The libs/tree-huggers will never let us hunt wolves in this state or bait cougars and bears, and the courts will never stop the natives from doing whatever they want to do, so good luck!
Zonk Volmer

Offline huntnnw

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Re: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2021, 10:15:56 PM »
so are they radio collaring last years calves? most calves dont hit the ground till early June. I cant imagine flying and collaring a newborn calf is very good for its survival. If calves are not surviving its predators! pretty simple

Offline Caseyd

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Re: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2021, 11:37:10 PM »
Who else is on the committee?

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Re: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2021, 05:47:06 AM »
Thank you for putting your time and effort into this and trying to be a part of change!

Offline Pathfinder101

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Re: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2021, 07:03:22 AM »
Dvolmer pretty much summed up the problem.  Better predator control and a permit system that sets more realistic limits on Native Hunting (including adding someone that has the ability to enforce that) would fix the problem within a few years.  Our hands are tied regarding baiting and hounds.  Moving the bear season a month earlier was a step in the right direction.  Anything done within the tribe will have to be something that the tribes do.  Not sure how it works, but some reservations have managed their game populations for quality hunting that brings the tribe revenue.  Might be something there that could be proposed.   :dunno:
It is not a "normal" game management problem.  Can't just cut tags, feed 'em in the winter for a couple of years and solve it. 
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

Offline Fishmaker57

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Re: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2021, 08:32:33 AM »
I made a comment on the other thread about this. Suffice to say that this study was done in the mid 90's, for several years, and well documented. Why are they doing it again? Giant waste of time and money...apparently the new biologists tossed everything already one on this? Yes, predators killed most of the calves. At that time they thought it was bears, but it turned out that cats were doing most of the killing, and bears chased them off the kills. At the end of the day, does it really matter what predator is doing the killing? I am sure wolves are in the mix, and they won't / can't kill them, but bear and cat numbers can be controlled......just bring back hound hunting!

 :bash: :bash: :bash:

Offline steeleywhopper

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Re: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2021, 08:35:55 AM »
They did the same deal back in the 90's and ended up finding over half the collars on the ground not long after being collared. This was long before the wolves were eating them, so now you add wolves and no wonder you have no calf recruitment. You have a predator buffet with perfect predator habitat. I lived and hunted in Dayton during the beginning of the Spike only and got to see the awesome bulls that grew those first years. After Miller Shingle sold to Bonneville and that land ended up being given to the Umatilla Tribe things changed big time on our old hunting grounds. Sad to see what it is not anymore and such great memories of Big bulls and great hunting camps...OH the good ole days..

I hope some good change can come of this and good luck to all those involved. Thank you for trying.

Offline elkchaser54

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Re: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2021, 09:15:28 AM »
The umatilla natives aren't the only tribe that has rights to slaughter the herd with no accountability either. The Nez Perce  come from Idaho and shoot from trucks and shine bulls . I've seen it first hand

Offline timberfaller

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Re: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2021, 09:48:34 AM »
Sad to say BUT if the government is involved, common sense will not be tolerated! :bash:   See: Olympia, home of tree hugger's and wolf lovers who answer to higher ups located in Portland! :yike:
 
Good luck to the group, but I don't see any thing of value for wildlife being decided by them. :sry: Seen it unfold during the Salmon listing, don't think government has improved much!
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Offline pianoman9701

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Re: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2021, 01:23:04 PM »
Itís good to hear there will be some landowners to give input, at least you anyway. Iím not sure how the rest feel.  The blues elk problem is the biggest let down this state has let happen!!
\
I would argue that hoof disease, ignored by the WDFW for 20 years, is the biggest but they're both huge disappointments.
"Restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens based on the actions of criminals and madmen will have no positive effect on the future acts of criminals and madmen. It will only serve to reduce individual rights and the very security of our republic." - Pianoman

Offline trophyhunt

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Re: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2021, 01:31:06 PM »
Itís good to hear there will be some landowners to give input, at least you anyway. Iím not sure how the rest feel.  The blues elk problem is the biggest let down this state has let happen!!
\
I would argue that hoof disease, ignored by the WDFW for 20 years, is the biggest but they're both huge disappointments.
pretty much agree, but hoof rot isnít only in Wa, Iíve read somewhere there are some cases in Europe. But I could be mistaking that for the Europeans are also working hard for a cure.
ďIn common withĒ..... not so much!!

Offline TriggerMike

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Re: Blues Elk Substantial Decline and the Root Cause
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2021, 01:57:26 PM »
Not enough wolves yet to kill as many elk calves in the Blues that have been killed lately. Bears and cats are the primary culprits, I would bet the farm on that. Bears are absolute assassins in the spring time when the calves and fawns start dropping. They sniff them out like bloodhounds.

 


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