Sometimes there are comments that are just so good, they should be brought to the front as a post.
“BE” decided to calculate how much cattle consumed compared to elk. Remember that these animals compete for forage on the range. Read on. . . Webmaster.
Interesting facts for hunters who care about elk numbers:
Number of Idaho State AUMs (animal unit months) leased for public lands grazing: 225,000 AUMs annually
BLM + Federal AUMS in Idaho for public lands grazing: 1,800,000 AUMs annually
Total Public Lands AUMs leased for livestock grazing in Idaho (S+F): 2,025,000
Now, the USDA NRCS National Range & Pasture Handbook cites these relative numbers for AUM consumption:
Cow, dry = 0.92
Cow + calf = 1.00
Elk, mature = 0.60
Deer (m) mature = 0.20
Deer, (wt) mature= 0.15
So – an elk needs 6/10 of 1 AUM to survive for a month
crunching the numbers we find that in Idaho alone, the public lands forage being subsidized to cows could annually support:
281,250 elk or
843,750 mule deer or
1,125,000 WT deer or
various combinations depending on where you’re at —
this contrasted against the roughly 13,600,000 AUMs grazed on private land in Idaho (which we could put through the same model, but because these private lands aren’t supposed to be for all of us we’ll omit from elk/deer potential habitat calculations) demonstrates that public lands ranching in Idaho only contributes around 12% of the forage used in Idaho livestock operations (public or private)…
so – public lands ranching robs elk of forage which could sustain above numbers of wildlife – how many do wolves take?… (and keep in mind, wolves kill the weak, diseased, old leaving hunters with bigger stronger game with bigger stronger genes for the next generation of herds)…
elk hunters need to re-evaluate the forces squeezing out our wildlife – and if we authentically care about our kids having the same quality opportunities to spend with their fathers, grandfathers, mothers, etc. on the hunt, we need to be willing to face the facts rather than the red herrings out there.