|PGC Elk Biologist Jon Di Berti Gives PowerPoint Presentation-Photo by W.Hill|
- Cow elk usually do not give birth until they are three years of age and they usually only have one calf, in contrast to whitetail deer that may give birth at one year of age, usually give birth at two years, and frequently have twins and sometimes triplets. In practical terms this means that elk do not have nearly the reproductive potential that deer do, and therefore it is much easier to control their numbers so that they do not damage their habitat.
- Dealing with elk human conflicts is an important concern in elk management. This segment was covered by Wildlife Conservation Officer Doty McDowell and will be covered in depth in a future post.
- Maintaining a healthy herd with a good age structure is extremely important. It seems that we are basically doing well with the elk here in Pennsylvania, with the exception that there are not enough bulls making it past the 51/2 year point. According to Mr. Diberti, a bull will reach his maximum potential between the age of 6-9 years, but the ability to grow large racks may continue past the ninth year.
|Young Bull Browsing: Bulls Must Be At Least 6-9 Years Old To Reach Full Potential-Photo by W.Hill|
|Mature Bull Taken on Same Day-Note Extreme Difference In Antler Size-Photo by W.Hill|
- The number of tags issued does not seem to greatly influence the number of applications received. Over 50,000 applications were received for the first hunt in 2001, but numbers then declined to a low of 17,245 in 2007. They then increased slightly in 2008 and 2009 and have basically stabilized at just below 20,000 applicants.
- The hunt has not significantly lowered elk mortality from other causes such as killing for crop damage, roadkill, or natural causes, but rather is additional mortality above and beyond these factors.
- Habitat management practices directed toward elk is beneficial to a wide variety of other species as well. We will cover this in further detail in a future post with photos from a field tour with Land Management Officer John Dzemyan.