I just read that an elk took down a helicopter in Utah. This brought back feelings of anger and disbelief that wildlife biologists are still using this method to "track them."
A few years ago, FWP were chasing elk around up the West Fork and only lost one elk. That is what made me wonder what are they thinking. These are herd animals and keeping an eye on them is not that difficult. Having had the good fortune to be able to observe them for the past 46 years, they are creatures of habit and will normally stay the course. Knowing that the winter time is survival time as well as gestation time, to chase them via air creates a number of survival extras. Aborting calves is a true possibility, which after a couple instances creates a sterile cow.
Hopefully they can do the research in a much less invasive manner. Talk to the local ranchers; they will tell you where the herds travel and during which time of year.
If samples are needed, a practice of a winter feeding station works real well. Once found, the elk will be there like clockwork. At which time a tranquilizer could be administered, not as much "fun " as a helicopter but much easier on the elk, not to mention our bill for the helicopter in comparison to the feeding station.
It sure would be nice to see some common sense put back into life.
Mark Rogala, Conner