Elk Ecology and management in the Cypress Hills

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Conflicts between elk (Cervus elaphus) and the agriculture community have a long history in the Cypress Hills. Although management interventions have been implemented (e.g., management hunts, fencing haystacks), conflicts persist. Managers and other stakeholders are interested in developing more effective, knowledge-based elk management. This study examined the social and ecological aspects of elk conflicts with agriculture in the Cypress Hills. Landowner perceptions of conflicts on individual fields were strongly related to crop type, and to a lesser extent, a field's visibility. Based on analysis of radiotelemetry data, the Cypress Hills elk population is divided into 6 relatively discrete sub-populations, whose ranges should be viewed as the basic unit of management. Elk vulnerability to harvest was influenced primarily by forest cover; roads and slope had a lesser influence. Finally, elk foraging site selection on native winter ranges was most strongly influenced by terrain ruggedness, elevation, and roads. Aspect and slope had a secondary importance for influencing the location of foraging sites. Furthermore, terrain ruggedness was the strongest landscape factor influencing the intensity of foraging at a site. Management and research recommendations are provided to assist a collaborative planning process for elk management in the Cypress Hills.
Bibliography: p. 210-213
Some pages are in colour.
Hegel, T. M. (2004). Elk Ecology and management in the Cypress Hills (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca. doi:10.11575/PRISM/11446