Frankly, I’m not a big fan of check stations. They’re spot checks at a single location and there are a lot of factors that influence the data other than the size of the elk herd. (That’s why I do like the mid-winter flight data, even though it’s a lot more expensive.)
We’ve run two stations pretty regularly since 1974 (a few scattered before that as well). Hunting seasons have changed a lot, so I truncated the data at 1991 in the graphs below. That’s the year we moved from a September either sex opener, to a standard October 10th bull opener. You could probably make a decent argument that the graphs should only go back to 1998, when we started the A/B tag system.
So, in VERY general terms, bull elk success rates are looking decent at both check stations, and hunter participation has been declining through both stations since about 1992:
I gave up on trying to make comparisons for cow harvest. Sometimes the cow season opened on a Friday, sometimes on a Saturday; sometimes it was 7 days long, sometimes 3, etc. That analysis will just have to wait for the report card data to come in.
From October 1-24, 2009, hunters took 7 wolves in the Idaho Panhandle. Hunters have taken 9 wolves during this same period this year. We also had an earlier opener this year (August 30th) with 6 wolves taken prior to October 1. If we follow the same pattern of harvest as 2009, we would have a final hunter harvest of about 40 wolves. In general terms, this would take care of most, if not all of the expected reproductive increase. Trapping should result in a decrease in the Panhandle’s wolf population.