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Elk Research
Elk Research

​Evaluating the Influence of Human Harvest, Carnivores, Climate, and Habitat on Adult Female Elk Survival Across Western North America

Led By

Jedediah Brodie, Heather ​Johnson (CPW), Michael Mitchell, Peter Zager, Kelly Proffitt, Mark Hebblewhite, Matthew Kauffman, Bruce Johnson, John Bissonette, Chad Bishop (CPW), Justin Gude, Jeff Herbert, Kent Hersey, Mark Hurley, Paul Lukacs, Scott McCorquodale, Eliot McIntire, Josh Nowak, Hall Sawyer, Douglas Smith and P.J. White

Study Area

Western North America

Project Status


Research Objectives

  • To determine the relative influence of predation, weather, habitat, land-use and harvest on adult female elk survival.

Project Description

The challenges facing elk management in western landscapes are increasing at a rapid pace as changes to habitat, climate and predator communities influence elk population demography and behavior.

In an effort to understand these new challenges and effectively manage elk in the future, researchers across seven states in western North America began to communicate about shared management challenges and research needs. Collaborators decided that a region-wide study across all the states would provide managers a big-picture view of how broad-scale drivers are influencing elk populations.

Therefore, CPW collaborated with state and federal wildlife agencies in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and Utah to investigate large-scale temporal and spatial patterns in adult female elk survival and cause-specific mortality. 

Results from this study will help wildlife managers better respond to changing environmental conditions in the future.

Collaborators for this project include personnel from the USGS Montana Wildlife Cooperative Research Unit, USGS Wildlife Cooperative Research Unit, USGS Wyoming Cooperative Research Unit, Idaho Fish and Game, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and Yellowstone National Park.

Associated Publications

Brodie, J., H. Johnson, M. Mitchell, P. Zager, K. Proffitt, M. Hebblewhite, M. Kauffman, B. Johnson, J. Bissonette, C. Bishop, J. Gude, K. Hersey, M. Hurley, P. Lukacs, S. McCorquodale, E. McIntire, J. Nowak, D. Smith, and P.J. White. 2013. Relative influence of human harvest, carnivores, and weather on adult female elk survival across western North America. Journal of Applied Ecology 50:295-305.