Issues for Elk Management in Yellowstone
Economics of Elk Hunting:
Hunting of big game species
such as elk is an important economic factor for the Greater Yellowstone
for 60% of all visitors to the area in 1985, which benefit the
local communities (lodging, food, etc).
In Wyoming in1998,
the total number of hunters (residents and non-residents) was
55,838 with a total harvest of 22,586 elk. The National Elk
Refuge, Teton Park and Jackson Hole all benefit economically
from the hunting of elk.
Hunting contributes to
the United States economy, and helps support government agencies.
Hunting in the United
States encompassed 14 million people in 1996, totaling $4.8
billion on license fees, stamps, tags and permits. Hunters spent
$72 billion on food, lodging, transportation, equipment, etc.
The state fish and
wildlife agencies depend on the hunting revenues through license
fees and excise taxes on equipment to increase their budget.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Federal aid program included
the federal excise tax on hunting equipment and distributed
$165 million to state agencies in 1999, some of which goes to
hunter education and safety classes.
consequences of Elk transmission of Brucellosis
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) is responsible for eradicating brucellosis from
cattle in the United States. It
also has authority over controlling brucellosis in animals that
may be carriers of the disease, including elk and bison.
In 1934, APHIS began a nationwide brucellosis control program. The program requires that cattle and bison
herds be tested and if they are found to be free of brucellosis,
the state they reside in can be classified as “brucellosis-free.” As of June, 1997, the states surrounding Yellowstone, including
Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, were certified as brucellosis-free. When brucellosis-free states ship cattle to
other states, the importing state is assured that they are not risking
transmission of the disease to their livestock industry. Because of this assurance, the exporting state
does not have to perform expensive testing with each shipment. The state of Montana estimates that because
of its brucellosis-free status, it saves between $1 million and
$2 million a year by not having to test its exported cattle.
impacts of Brucellosis can be significant. The testing required to prevent and maintain
Brucellosis-free status can cost states and cattle ranchers millions
of dollars. Since APHIS’
brucellosis control program began, over $3.5 billion in federal,
state, and industry funds have been spent trying to eradicate the
economical concerns about Brucellosis relates primarily to bison
as they are the main carriers. However, elk do carry brucellosis
but do not pose as much a risk as bison do. Ranchers and state cattle
industries are generally more concerned about bison and less about
elk. Nevertheless, the risk of transmission has substantial economic
impacts regardless of the source.
learn more about why elk are less a concern than bison, click
here, or to learn more about economic impacts of bison sources
of brucellosis, click here.
Issues influenced by elk in the Yellowstone National Park area:
is an important commodity in the Yellowstone National Park area.
During a recent survey, 93% of all visitors that come to the park
are there to see the wildlife. Elk is one of the most visible of
all wildlife, besides bison, because of their size and population
numbers. The National Park Service states that the increase
in tourism has not been met by fee increases. Current entrance fees
have not gone up with the cost of living increases. This is a problem
in the eyes of the National Park Service whom says that the increased
funds would go to educational programs and natural habitat protection.
These programs will directly
affect the elk. The educational programs are based on educating
the public, adults and children, in the wildlife and geology of
the park. In turn the park will receive well-educated people to
make decisions for the public park. The natural habitat protection
will try to protect parts of the park from being disturbed by humans
(through agriculture, industry, logging, and human settlement).
There is a private group
that has helped fund projects within the park. The Yellowstone
Park Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to protect,
preserve, and enhance Yellowstone National Park. This foundation
has raised $3.5 million to support projects and programs related
to the wildlife and geology of Yellowstone
Links on Hunting: