JMO on decreased elk sightings

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by RLWEBB, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. RLWEBB

    RLWEBB 12 pointer

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    Nov 30, 2005
    Staffordsville, KY
    Just my opinion but see if you agree. I think one of the reasons for decreased elk sightings is the lack of active mining in east Kentucky. A lack of active mining means a lack of reclaiming and reclaiming means fresh grass. I think that when there is fresh grass coming up, the elk feed heavily in these areas and are more visible to hunters and those who are on the property. I also think many elk were accustomed to feeding on reclaimed areas and as these have dried up, elk are more dependent on browse and acorns. This causes them to stay in the timber more. I’d also add that mining tends to create open areas which just naturally make game more visible. Anyway, this is just my thoughts and I know there’s several other reasons for lack of elk sightings. Good luck to all those with tags still to fill. Looking forward to my cow hunt at the end of December.
     
  2. carnivore

    carnivore 12 pointer

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    Nov 17, 2007
    Ky
    My guess is by the end of your cowhunt you will have changed your mind/opinion. Cows without calves are common. This could be bear predation, a biological breeding issue, or more likely (imo) poaching. A 250lb calf is easier to deal with in a poaching situation, and the meat is second to none.
     
    Salt likes this.
  3. RLWEBB

    RLWEBB 12 pointer

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    Nov 30, 2005
    Staffordsville, KY
    Maybe. Are you saying I’ll change my mind because I’ll see elk or a lack of elk?
     
  4. bgkyarcher

    bgkyarcher 12 pointer

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    BG
    You'll change your mind when you see how much available browse is available in open country. Food isn't an issue, lack of animals is the issue, and it was 100% created by the department. I can show you pics from 2012, and last year. Same views from then and now. Nothing has changed, except no elk in the now pictures. Trust me, food is not the issue.....
     
    HCDH66 and carnivore like this.
  5. carnivore

    carnivore 12 pointer

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    Ky
    Lots of open grass/weed fields have become overgrown. (Not to disagree with my own opinion but you can’t say these fields arent getting overgrown with autumn olive, brush, and 10-15 foot trees.)
     
  6. carnivore

    carnivore 12 pointer

    5,683
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    Nov 17, 2007
    Ky
    If you spent time 2006-2010 hunting in elk country and compare numbers to today there just isnt an arguement the elk are gone (timber vs grasslands aside)
     
  7. bgkyarcher

    bgkyarcher 12 pointer

    11,842
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    Aug 23, 2011
    BG
    True, but there is plenty of browse.... Food is not an issue....
     
  8. bgkyarcher

    bgkyarcher 12 pointer

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    BG
    There are tons of acres of newly planted grass on those strips.... Hill sides of new, lush fescue coming up... Prime grub, no elk. Deer love it.
     
    carnivore likes this.
  9. carnivore

    carnivore 12 pointer

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    Nov 17, 2007
    Ky
    Do you think one cause is worse than the rest or are all significant?
    Poaching vs. too many tags vs archery woundings vs. too many OOS relocations or any other cause ?
     
  10. bgkyarcher

    bgkyarcher 12 pointer

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    BG
    Too many animals being killed, period. They were warned in 2009 what would happen.... They've killed WAY too many cows, they have no clue, or simply choose to ignore the effects of predation and poaching. The last meeting I was at was in 2014, I think. They said, with a straight face, they estimated poaching at 3%. LMFAO. They also base their population numbers on ridiculous assumptions... Such as, each collared bull has 15-20 cows... Each animal they see on ifrared imaging at night from helicopters is an elk---hello, there are a gazillion free range horses and cattle over there... Then there is the the trapping of animals. They took 30+ out of the area near the ATV center this past Summer. What animals that remained, vacated the area. If they don't shut it down completely, or drastically reduce the tags, there won't be any elk to hunt in a few years.
     
  11. Chilly

    Chilly 10 pointer

    I've seen the ponies, horses and mules there. You ain't wrong, there are a ton of them! It blew our minds! When we finally did see an elk, it was a collared cow. Saw her for a couple of seconds and she was gone.
    This was all in 2016. We finally got on some elk and my wife killed one. My brother went back to that spot a month later with a bow, and there were traps set for re-location.
     
    childersb24 likes this.
  12. luvtohunt

    luvtohunt 10 pointer

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    Sep 1, 2011
    Eubank, Ky
    Last time I was back home on some of the reclaims I grew up hunting, there was no shortage of fescue to browse. Acres and acres of the stuff. What has changed in the past 5-8 years is I no longer see elk in places I used to be able to go yearly and see them. Why however is a mystery to me. I do believe overharvest is a likely factor but also believe some type of predation to elk calves is occurring. When my mom was fortunate enough to draw a tag several years ago, she killed a cow out of a group of 8 cows that were all mature without a calf. Weirs coincidence that they were all barren if you ask me!! More likely some kind of animal predator or poaching.
     
  13. littlebear

    littlebear 12 pointer

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    Aug 21, 2007
    the woods
    Fall issue of Kentucky Afield has an article in it stating a lot of what you posted about. Talking about how things have changed and mining has slowed not creating new grassy areas. Also how many mines are growing up not providing grass like they did but timber area now.
     
    RLWEBB likes this.
  14. KentuckyOutdoors

    KentuckyOutdoors Fawn

    48
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    Nov 19, 2019
    Christian County
    Would you all say this was a state wide issue? Or more unit specific?
     
  15. bgkyarcher

    bgkyarcher 12 pointer

    11,842
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    Aug 23, 2011
    BG
    The entire elk region is becoming void of animals....
     

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