The recent column in the East Oregonian about elk on private property caught my interest. The author seemed to object to property owners charging to hunt elk on private land, even though this is done in every state with big game. The author also noted that projects completed locally have provided the means to keep elk on public land. Why hasn't this been done?
The author stated that motorized vehicles were the main reason why elk left public land. Somehow he forgot to mention wolves. Studies conducted by Wyoming Game and Fish Department showed a very high correlation between wolf population and elk displacement from winter range and feedgrounds. In a summary of their data from 1995-2017, the elk population in the areas studied went from a high in 1995 of 51,187, deer population of 62,501 and moose population of 10,000 had fallen to 36,839 for elk, 38,088 for deer and 1,390 for moose. During that time there were no wolves until 1996 and 210 in 2017. The wolves in Eastern Oregon might well play a huge role in changing elk location.
In the same edition of the EO, two different wolf kills of livestock were reported, one attack near Elgin, and the other near Ukiah. Maybe the wolves have learned to drive motorized vehicles.