Top 5 Signs that Your Elk Hunting Area Needs Habitat Help

MISSOULA, Mont. — Elk season is over, leaving you with another autumn's worth of memories. While you're reminiscing, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation asks you to think about the country where you hunted, how it's changed through the years and how it's likely to change in the future.

Here are the Elk Foundation's Top 5 signs that your elk hunting area may need serious habitat stewardship:

1. Habitat Fragmentation — New subdivisions and ranchettes are eliminating and cutting off key habitat, particularly in winter range and migration corridors. Increased human activity and vehicular traffic compound impacts to elk.

2. Weeds Amok — Knapweed, yellow starthistle, leafy spurge and other invasive weeds are consuming the West. These noxious exotics kill or displace native forage that elk and other species depend on for grazing.

3. Sick Forests — Years of suppressing wildfire has led to dense, choked timber piled high with deadfall. These conditions lead to massive beetle infestations, threaten catastrophic wildfire and offer little benefit, other than escape cover, for elk. Yet overgrown forests are becoming more rule than exception.

4. Vanishing Meadows & Aspen Stands — Fire suppression has also allowed pinion, juniper, fir and other evergreens to overtake meadows and aspen stands. The resulting shade shrivels understory plants, cutting available forage for elk by up to 90 percent.

5. Lack of Water — Many traditional watering holes are drying up earlier and earlier in the year. Elk are forced to abandon historic ranges and follow the water to survive.

Since launching nearly 25 years ago, the Elk Foundation has helped address these and other habitat issues on over 5.4 million acres. Rallying a legion of partners, RMEF's annual projects include weed treatments, prescribed burns, forest thinning, construction of guzzlers, riparian restorations, land acquisitions, conservation easements and more.

Sample projects for your state are listed at the Elk Foundation Web site: Click on "Conservation" and then "Where We Conserve."

"Members, volunteers and supporters of the Elk Foundation are making a difference but there is still much work to do," said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. "We invite everyone who cares about elk, elk country and elk hunting to join us."

For membership information, visit or call 800-CALL-ELK.

Recommended for You


Game & Fish Magazine Names New Editorial Director

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications.


MidwayUSA Pro Series Shooting Mat

G&F Staff

Shooters across the U.S. are using this competition shooting mat.

See More Recommendations

Trending Stories


10 Best Long-Range Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range


Top 10 Biggest Pike World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - August 19, 2015

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the...


4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest. Although...

See More Stories

More Stories


Predator Hunting: 3 Ways to Find Elusive Coyotes

Brad Fitzpatrick - June 26, 2018

Calling all coyotes:'These predators are efficient, so finding and calling them to the gun can


Call Our Complex Coyotes

Brad Fitzpatrick - July 13, 2017

We Coyote hunters spend a lot of time ringing the dog's dinner bell when we call. But we are


Guns & Loads for Long-Range Coyote Hunting

Stephen D. Carpenteri - December 13, 2015

Predator hunters living in more open areas are in a unique position to enjoy coyote hunting at...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.