Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Wyoming
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Wyoming Project

Evaluating the Influence of Beetle Kill on Sierra Madre Elk

April 2013 - June 2019


Participating Agencies

  • Wyoming Wildlife - The Foundation
  • USDA, Forest Service
  • Wyoming Game & Fish Department
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
  • Private Sponsors
As the bark beetle epidemic progresses ungulates may be faced with new challenges as they move about the landscape in search of resources, and hiding and thermal cover.

This project will provide information on how hunters and elk change their use of the forest as trees die, as dead trees begin to fall and beetle kill management is implemented. Most of the beetle killed trees in our study area of the Sierra Madre mountains are infected and dying, but have not yet fallen over. Thus, this study will provide an assessment of elk movement and forest use prior to, during, and after massive tree fall. We are also documenting how hunters change their use of the forest and where they choose to hunt elk throughout all stages of the beetle kill and tree fall, and evaluating any change in elk and elk hunters caused by beetle-kill management activities