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check station

Panhandle Check Station Results

October 24, 2011 - 4:26pm -- idfg-jhayden

Elk Harvest
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.

Wolf Harvest
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.

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