Constraints to hunting and harvesting elk in a landscape dominated by private land

17 November 2019

Gruntorad, Matthew; Chizinski, Christopher

While the harvest success rate of bull elk in Nebraska has been relatively high in recent years, antlerless harvest success is substantially lower inhibiting the ability of wildlife managers to effectively manage population numbers. We sought to explore differences in hunter behaviour based on the type of elk being hunted as well as how specific constraints affected each hunter type’s ability to hunt and harvest elk. Decreased antlerless-elk harvest rates were likely a product of the reduced frequency in which an antlerless-elk hunter would pay for the opportunity to hunt on property containing a comparatively higher probability of harvest. Antlerless-elk hunters reported being more constrained by time, and felt more strongly that the quantity of elk on the land that they hunted affected their ability to harvest. Our results reinforce the need for wildlife managers to work closely with private landowners and focus hunting pressure on land currently restricted to elk hunting.