Prematurely warm weather in parts of Colorado is bringing welcomed news to elk hunters.
The Denver Post reported that a recent bout of warmer weather has melted snow on some of northwestern Colorado's south-facing mountain slopes, thus increasing the chances of a majority of the 16,000 to 17,000 strong elk herd to make it safely through the rest of winter - calves included.
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The concentrations of elk are positioned between Steamboat Springs, Co. and Craig, Co., north of U.S. 40. The highway cuts through northwestern Colorado, not far from the Wyoming border.
"Conditions are good for the elk despite the amount of snow in Steamboat and up in the mountains," said Jim Haskins, Colorado Parks and Wildlife area wildlife manager, in a statement quoted by the Denver Post. "When you get to this part of the winter and have had some decent conditions like we've had, we feel the elk will get through the winter in good shape, and that's what we're finding."
While the elk herd's numbers seem high, it's actually around half of what it once was only seven or eight short years ago, according to Parks and Wildlife terrestrial biologist Jeff Yost as reported by The Denver Post.
The significant decrease in Colorado elk herd population is, however, going exactly as the Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff planned it to. The numbers are right on target with projected population figures in an effort to prevent overcrowding.
And how did the state's Parks and Wildlife staff manage to get the herd down to a controllable number? You guessed it, through hunting.
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Through the issuing of elk hunting licenses, state wildlife officials were able to implement management actions to decrease the herd effectively and in a timely manner.
Do you live in or near Colorado? Do you think the winter was too harsh, or will the elk survive just fine as predicted?