Wyoming’s War On Elk
By Todd Helms
Recently Wyoming Rep. Bill Allemand proposed that the state issue “unlimited killing permits to ranchers” in areas of the state with over-objective elk herds. Essentially creating what has been called “all you can kill” scenarios escalating Wyoming’s seeming war on elk.
Now, before the pitchforks and torches from the private land crowd show up, let me say this… I understand how difficult elk depredation can be for Ag producers. The damage caused is literally money out of pocket for these folks and it can be devastating. That said, dealing with nature is part of the game for Ag producers whether they’re fighting grizzly and wolf depredation, elk and deer crop and infrastructure damage or weather events like flooding, hail or drought. That’s what crop/herd insurance is for, unless I’m mistaken.
I’ve had many conversations with friends and family on both sides of this issue and I try to be level-headed when listening to and engaging with folks about this topic but the clear cut answer to this “overpopulation of elk” in parts of Wyoming seems pretty simple… let folks hunt!
I’ve lived and worked in the part of the state where this “overpopulation of elk” exists and the one thing that stands out is a severe lack of access to hunting over there. The eastern half of Wyoming is largely private property and access for hunting is normally run through an outfitter or otherwise tightly controlled, and rightfully so. If I were a rancher I’d be leery of opening my place up to the public at large too. That said, I wrote my solution to this issue back in June….
Unless these private landowners are willing to allow controlled access to hunting for elk, then I don’t feel the state should be giving favors like “all you can kill” permits that effectively create a war on animals that are owned by the people of the state of Wyoming; all of them, not just Ag producers.
The real question is… what say you?
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