Idaho ranchers are calling the movement of elk into the southwest part of the state an “invasion.” Wildlife officials agree that the elk population is behaving and moving differently than before, and it is southern Idaho’s agricultural and ranching industry that is now under siege.

“The numbers are continuously growing out there,” rancher Mike Grimmett told The Times-News.

Grimmett says that over 1,500 elk trampled his property in Mayfield, consuming everything in sight. What they do not eat, the elk stomp into the ground. Elsewhere in Elmore County the situation is the same. According to the Capital Press, more than 4,000 elk have entered the Mayfield area alone. For the ranchers that own land there, it is a problem that is threatening their livelihood. On January 15, a group of landowners from Elmore County visited Boise and asked state legislators and wildlife officials for help.

“If we can’t solve this problem, we need to be compensated,” said rancher Jeff Lord. “I don’t want to be a winter elk feed provider. I want to be a rancher.”

Idaho Fish and Game experts believe that the elk moved into the area due to a series of wildfires and pressure from wolves.

“One of the things that has changed is elk distribution,” Fish and Game program coordinator Toby Boudreau told Boise State Public Radio. “Over the past 15 years we’ve seen elk populations increase in places that we really didn’t have elk in the mid to late 90s.”

Last year marked a number of devastating wildfires in elk habitat, including more than 280,600 acres burned in the Sawtooth and Boise national forests. Wolves also played a part in driving the elk south, notably along the Salmon River where Fish and Game biologists recorded a 40 percent drop in elk numbers since 2002. The problem was pressing enough for the state to hire a professional hunter to eliminate two packs in central Idaho last year.

While the ranchers just want the elk gone, Fish and Game officials say it is a delicate situation. The agency is working on a new 10-year elk management plan that will increase cooperation between wildlife officials, ranchers, and farmers.

“Management of wildlife is our job, and I think we’ll continue to do that,” Boudreau said. “And in places where we’ve seen declines in elk numbers, we will take actions to make things better for elk and find that balance.”

File image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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13 thoughts on “Wildfire and Wolves Cause Elk Woes in Southern Idaho

  1. If IF&G had not allowed the USFWS to introduce these non native wolves to Idaho this would not be happening. The best solution is to remove any and all regulations regarding hunting wolves. No tag shoot on sight 24/7/365.

    1. Tell everyone how your father Russell. Your dad is a registered sex offender you LOSER. hahs The wolves are still killing elk, deer, and moose all year round little Rusty. YOU LOSE!

    2. Wolves get to harvest elk 24/7 365 days a year you anti-wildlife terrorist

      Your daddy is still a registered sex offender. hahaha

    3. In this situation I think they need the opposite, more wolves. Always blaming the wolves. Get over it and learn to live with them.

      1. What we need and we are getting to with our wolf hunting, trapping and our new wolf control board is only 150 wolves in Idaho. That’s all you get. We will not live with them as they do not belong here. So until there are only 150 it’s time to smoke a pack a day.

    4. Non native? You must also question Obama’s birth certificate and whether or not the earth is flat.
      Crawl back into your cave

      1. Our native wolf is CL Irremotus. The non native introduced sub species is CL Occidentallis. Do not speak of things you know nothing about. That is a sure sign of ignorance.

      2. To not recognize that CL Occidentalis can and always has had a very large range, and migrates back and forth across the border for thousands of years is a sign of ignorance

      3. Occidentalis is not native in Idaho. Introducing them here was a crime. Dumb ass award, you win.

    5. shooting wolf hunters in the guts is wildlife conservation. A GOOD WOLF HUNTER IS A DEAD ONE Rusty. Your daddy evan edward morgan is a registered sex offender.

    6. wolf hunters will continue to be gut shot on sight you anti-wildlife terrorist. How’s your 2 bastard sons and your fugly aids infested kunt wife Emma Morgan doing?

  2. gosh being a city gal from NYC I dont know much about forest n animals but what I DO know is that almost all animals have another animal that they Fear n Run From or a SCENT …. living in Hawaii we have a lot of Rats here …so instead of rat poison ….being a ARA I feel rats do indeed have a purpose for living ….Hawks n Owls Dinner Time …but Rats hate the Smell of Pine…. Balsam ….after 2 mths of them shitting in my enclosed screen in deck last 4 days I finally got some …. fresh cab …. n it Does work ….Bottom Line ….WHAT IS THE ELKS FEAR?? U SAY WOLFS …..GET SOME JOLLY WOLF POOP/Urine N PLACE IT ALL AROUND …..Fence the area well …….Loud Noise Sensor when they are around n it goes off ….. glad to see that you all are working on finding a BALANCE that is Good for both Animals n Humans alike ….. for w happness is having animal <3 in our life's 🙂

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