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Aerial Gunning Elk?

Photo Credit: Harrycollinsphotography

Aerial Gunning Elk?

By Todd Helms

“Can they just be gunned,” he asked, “and let the coyotes take care of the carcasses?” 

So let me get this straight… southeastern Wyoming has “too many” elk and officials are trotting out ideas like aerial gunning to bring down the population, leaving the dead elk to waste? Pardon my opinion but, “how about, NO!” 

I understand that elk wreak havoc on livestock producers, cutting into margins via property damage and competition for feed/resources, but shooting them from airplanes like it’s the 1950s is NOT an acceptable control measure. 

The argument for it is that the elk numbers have not been controlled effectively by traditional hunting. This is due in large part to elk being quite cagey and avoiding habitats where they get hunted; which doesn’t take a wildlife biology degree from UW to decipher. 

My answer? Well, some will cheer and others will jeer, but here’s my unvarnished two-part opinion. First, if you don’t want all those elk on your place, let folks hunt! 

If you’re not willing to allow access to legal, controlled hunting then you have no room to complain or claim relief for damages. 

Second, the State needs to vastly liberalize the harvest of these elk if they are truly a problem; longer seasons, larger quota (if any) and expanded public access to private lands. This second part of my argument is crucial to helping willing landowners keep destructive elk at bay. 

If the hunting season only lasts a month, after it’s over and things have gotten quiet again, the elk will return and set up shop. However, longer seasons, think mid-August through March for example, with unlimited cow/calf tags and an option for meat donation to organizations such as Wyoming Hunger Initiative or State controlled selling of hunter donated elk meat on open markets with monies going back into State coffers, like the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, just thinking outside the box here. . . 

I’m just one fella putting my opinion out there for all of you to critique. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and some ideas on how to help with that overabundance of elk in southeastern Wyoming. 


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4 Responses

  1. I’m from Australia. We have the same problem here, our government has state by state been creating an “invasive species” act as a legal right you’ve terminate our deer, our deer are all introduced, but they ate Ariel shootin, spending 10’s of millions of dollars shooting them and leaving them to rot. Our hunting belief it’s for two reasons, one to remove a good source and two to remove the need to bare firearms capable of hunting deer, to disarm us.
    It is not from good intent I guarantee you
    People here are talking about it being bad but there’s been NO action from the people yet

  2. Your 100% spot on…let hunters harvest these elk….maybe the state should pay these landowners to open their land up for public use…

  3. Let me get this straight. The Winter of 22/23 was close if not the worst winter on record in NW Colorado, Southcentral & Southwest Wyoming, SE Idaho & NE Utah. With a 100% fawn kill Up to 80% adult deer mortality rate The Elk I am sure & have been told took a steep hit also. Now kill the rest? Our Fish & Game offices in the Rockies & the west coast have been taken over by Environmental terrorist who now are imbedded deep into the state systems as most of the liberal left has also taken over office in politics as the continue to screw up the voting system & our American Heritage. I am absolutely sick & tired of this crap. Anyone in the Government acts like the head is in there A__ While taking down America. Please stop Voting for Democrats because this in the effects of years of just that.

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