A study by the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit shows that elk migrating to and from Yellowstone are raising fewer calves than in the past.
Report co-author Arthur Middleton says hot, dry weather has limited the amount of forage available, so fewer elk have been getting pregnant. Plus, he says wolves and bears are rebounding and killing more elk calves.
He says in contrast, non-migratory elk outside the park are doing well, because land is irrigated, and predators are scarce.
The National Park Service and the Game and Fish Department changed regulations for hunting elk in Grand Teton National Park. Part of the reason for these changes is to avoid contact between hunters and grizzly bears.
Last year a hunter participating in the annual elk reduction program shot and killed a grizzly in the park. In 2011, a grizzly mauled a hunter. Both encounters involved bears protecting animal carcasses.
It’s Memorial Day Weekend, which means National Parks and forests in the state are gearing up for a flood of tourists. But in northwest Wyoming, the Game and Fish Department is urging visitors to be Bear aware while enjoying the outdoors.
Jackson Game and Fish Spokesman Mark Gocke says people should hike in groups, when possible, and make a lot of noise to alert wildlife of their presence. Gocke says some bears seem to ignore visitors, but Gocke warns visitors never to approach a bear, no matter how harmless it seems.
A bear expert says a study has found that people using bear spray during grizzly bear encounters are injured far less often than people using firearms. University of Calgary's Steve Herrero says that 98 percent of those who used bear spray walked away unharmed, and no people or bears died. He says 56 percent of those who used firearms were injured, and 61 percent of the bears died. The firearms study involved 269 incidents with 444 hunters. The bear spray study had 72 incidents with 175 people, though some of