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Responses of National Park Elk to Human Activity

Richard D. Schultz and James A. Bailey
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 42, No. 1 (Jan., 1978), pp. 91-100
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3800694
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3800694
Page Count: 10
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Responses of National Park Elk to Human Activity
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Abstract

Responses of Rocky Mountain National Park elk (Cervus canadensis) to human activities were quantified in autumn 1974 and winter-spring 1975. During autumn, numbers of elk seen, rates of bugling, times of arrival and departure of elk to and from meadows, and harem bulls' activities were analyzed for relationships with traffic volume and tourist activities. Results suggested small effects of traffic volume upon elk, but no trends were statistically significant. People approaching animals off roads usually caused elk to leave open areas. Harassing elk in 2 meadows on alternate weeks during winter and spring did not affect their distribution or observability on winter ranges. Elk made greater use of areas near roads as the winter-spring study progressed, suggesting slight avoidance of roads when forage was more abundant earlier in winter. Wintering elk often used a residential area at night when human encounters were minimal. During winter and spring, elk were approached significantly closer during darkness with artificial lights than during daylight. These elk, which experienced little or no hunting, were very visible and were disturbed little, if any, by normal on-road visitor activities.

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