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Do you think that the long term ecological damage caused by exterminating predators or holding them well below their natural pop

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  • #46
    But if they made the trade off deal it wouldn't be poaching. It would be a hell of a time. I think very few hunters haven't fantasized about a YNP hunt.

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    • #47
      Shane years ago some local fellows had a batch of lightweight jackets made up with printing on them to the effect of LAMAR VALLEY HUNTING CLUB, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK. Of course this was a local joke but I am told it was amazing how many tourists stopped the guys making inquiries about how they could join. I also figure the Park Service took a very dim view of the attire but could not do anything about it. In reality hunting near the outside of the boundary used to be very productive if you were there when the elk migrated onto shootable soil. This is where the you began to see the need for a .338 or larger to limit the possibility of the bull running away wounded back into the Park.

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      • #48
        That's why I don't like talk of .25-06s for elk. I don't even like .270s. .30-06 should be the minimum. If you can't handle the recoil of an '06, you probably can't handle elk hunting. Elk are one of the very good reasons I think the .325 WSM should survive. Not such a mule as the .338s, but bigger badder bullets for big bad bulls. The way it should be.

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        • #49
          Sorry Shane but that just ain't the case. A .270 kills em dead right there if you shoot them through the vitals. Bigger guns are often an excuse for taking marginal shots and the greater recoil causes more misses than hits in lots of guys. I'm not saying a 25-06 is the best choice for everyone but lets not start setting minimum calibers when lots of young hunters might read your post and be steered to a gun they can't shoot accurately. Sorry to get off topic on the predator thing and this argument has been hashed out many times but I had to chime on.

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          • #50
            Chuckles I have probably seen more elk shot with .270s and 7 mms than everything else combined. I own and have used both extensively. I also have seen more bulls run off after being hit with one of the smaller bullets. There is indeed a great void between a .270 or '06 and the .338 or .325 when it comes to anchoring an animal that can run for miles uphill packing your 130 gr .270 leaving you a long ways behind. Sorry I love the .270 about as much as O'Connor (he is actually the reason I bought mine back in the sixties) but they are simply not a .338 regardless of bullet choice. My opinion based on killing quite a few elk and see lots more shot with everything from .243 to .375. Keith might have been full of bull in a lot of ways but he knew something about stopping larger tough animals. Now you guys can start hitting me with paper ballistics and how well your .300 did on equal sized animals in Africa, or how your .25 knocked over a Kodiak, or whatever. Have at it.

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            • #51
              ishawooa, I am not about to argue shooting or ballistics with a gentleman such as yourself who has a lot more of it under his belt than I do and probably ever will. I was objecting more to the comment that if you can't handle a 06 you can't handle elk hunting. I can only go by what I have experienced and seen and that is elk being shot with a .270 and a couple with a 7mm. All of the ones that were hit with lethal shots through heart or lungs went down within 20 yds.
              I would never argue that a larger caliber won't anchor the animals better but was more focused on the fact that we have a lot of beginner and young hunters out there who would be best off shooting a gun that they can shoot accurately. I also think, from my experiences with other hunters from outside of CO who often showed up with large caliber weapons that they were not terribly experienced with and ended up wounding and losing animals, that too often people take the big caliber, easy kill mentality as gospel. Often to the detriment of the animals. My experience, limited as it is, leads me to believe that accurate bullet placement is more lethal than anything else and that people are best off with guns they can shoot well as long as they provide sufficient energy for the task.

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              • #52
                I in no way advocate for big gun and bad aim. If you shot 100 bulls, all perfectly, but 50 with a .270 and 50 with a .338, there would be a lot less running off with the .338. I guess that's how this came up. Hunting on borders where you want your bull to be dead right then and there. Even if not near a border, it's still nice to not have your bull stumble off into something nasty. Same with moose. Better to drop them dead ASAP than have them find their way back to their favorite swamp.

                What I said about the .30-06 is a bit foolish, I have to admit, but that's just me still being reactionary to the seeming "how small of a rifle can I get away with?" craze. Obviously younger folks need a lighter kicking rifle so that they can concentrate on precision. But for them I recommend a .308 or something of the sort. Elk are big and tough, and It's nice to be able to shoot a big tough bullet at them. When I said it, I wasn't thinking of the kids. I was thinking of all the people that are perfectly capable of shooting a .338 or .300 well, and probably own one, but take their .270 anyways for the hell of it. My question is why? Obviously you can kill an elk with a .270, and obviously you are required to make a good heart/lung shot no matter what gun you take, but things don't always work out perfectly. While a mediocre shot with a .270 could wound an elk and cause it a long slow death, a .338 will still likely kill it.

                I don't advocate for big gun easy kill, I advocate for big gun, great shot, spectacular kill!

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                • #53
                  Chuckles and Shane I just gave a YES to both of you because I feel that you are each correct. I indeed have shot elk with .270 and 7 mm with excellent results. My point is that my kid and I shoot larger rifles a lot for pleasure and practice so a .338 to us is probably much like a .270 to folks who don't shoot much. Again we use .416 and .458 for fun breaking up boulders. This says nothing about us except that we have gained considerable experience shooting guns that some people perceive as having a lot of recoil. The reason for this all this effort is actually to become proficient with the larger cased rifles. We do prefer them in and around YNP since we know we can count on their ballis characteristics to stop the animal quickly. Certainly these rifles still require proper shot placement with a well constructed bullet. The hunting we do away from the YNP boundary is liable to find us shooting almost any legal caliber.
                  The outfitters had rather see a dude hunter show up with an '06 or .270 than a .338 since most people from back east simply don't have the range or maybe time to shoot the new larger rifle enough to be comfortable with it. Thus a well placed 180 from an '06 is definately superior to a poorly placed .338. Additionally you can bet that if an animal is badly hit near the Park the guide as well as the hunter will be shooting like hell to stop it before it runs away although I am equally as certain that no one would admit to this action.
                  Like deer any rifle will kill an elk given the right circumstances but I feel that a big bullet is better than a small one. A big fast bullet is even better.

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                  • #54
                    Ken, Shane, Chuckles: I was thinking over Ken's "natural selection" narative. Certainly your points are valid to a degree but consider the following. Per Discovery Channel and YouTube (I actually have not checked out the latter for months so this might be out of date, maybe not the most scientific sources but the best that I can manage for now) there are numerous videos of wolf packs of four or more animals easily taking down mature which seemingly are healthy bull and cow elk, black bears, moose, and other animals of such stature. Thus how do you account for the fact that even a healthy well developed fawn or calf of any ungulate species is able to survive from a roving wolf pack or even a stalking grizzley bear? From my observations this simply is not happening and our herds are being depleted without adequate wolf management. I twice have personally witnessed the wolf activity around an elk herd. One story is absence of substance but I will relate the other event sometime. It appears that finally the grizzley management will be initiated soon but I am not holding my breath just yet. Do you feel that these real world situations in any way impacts the natural selection process or am I somehow deceiving myself?

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                    • #55
                      Wolves can and have taken the big ones, but the majority of the time they save their energy and go for weaker specimens. Calves in general are helpless to wolves, but even when after calves, their hunts fail sometimes. Stronger calves are more likely to be involved in the failed hunts.

                      Elk and other ungulates have been getting ravaged by wolves for millions of years, and never have I heard of a case of predation causing a weaker herd. The herds will get smaller, but generally get stronger in the long run. Maybe no difference will be made, but it is highly unlikely that the genetic makeup of the herd will be weakened in any way.

                      On another note, I think wolves might have a sense of sport. They are very intelligent, more so than any domestic dogs, so I wouldn't be surprised. I don't think they say "hey look at the rack on that one!", I think it's more of "I'm gonna kill that big sumbitch just because I can!". When they take those big bulls, there is no logical reason for it, so I think they do a little trophy hunting sometimes too.

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                      • #56
                        Shane you might be right about the trophy hunting as I once witnessed what appeared to be such a hunt even though it turned out to be unsuccessful like many of mine. I am certain you are correct about the weaker animals being the easiest prey. Genetics is by far not the only reason an animal is weak as illness, physical injury, or simply misfortune are contributors. Regardless the strongest calf is no match for even a small weak pack of wolves. Remember that the wolves are rarely solitary hunters as their quest for the kill is often planned and calculated even to the extent of covering miles of terrain. Opportunity certainly plays a significant role as well. Again keep in mind that these same youth elk and their families have to keep moving to maintain their livlihoods in search of nourishment. We have noted that in the presence of an ever increasing number of unmanaged wolves the elk and deer tend to move out into meadows and even pastures on ranches. Previously we normally located them in timber during the majority of daylight hours. The reason stated by the local Game and Fish agents is so the elk can establish a safety zone in which they can be on constant watch for any possible attacks. In the wake of these moving herds of elk and deer also lies the grizzleys and another animal that we have failed to discuss which is the mountain lion, puma, pima, panther, cat, or whatever you prefer to call it.

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                        • #57
                          ishawooa-

                          I would explain it slightly differently than shane.

                          I have two thoughts:
                          1)law of averages
                          This school of thought would say that, though big healthy individuals will occasionally be preyed upon, on average, the predation rate of small/slow/dumb individuals will be much higher. Thus, the big/fast/smart individuals will on average live longer, have more calves, pass on their genes, etc... etc...

                          Think of this kind of like if I said "politicians are scumbags". Then you said "Not true, my congressmen just donated his whole paycheck to charity and spends his vacations rescuing orphans from burning buildings" Granted, the example shows that my statement is not universally true, but I think we can all agree that on average, politicians are scumbags. ;-)

                          This is why you will notice I often use qualifiers like "almost always" or "overwhelming majority" or "most of the time" in all debates not just this one. Because no matter how true any given statement is, someone will always be able to come up with an anecdote that contradicts it.

                          2)some unknown factor
                          This explanation is admittedly a little more shaky, but still plausible. This school of thought would say that the "mature and seemingly healthy bull" has some disadvantageous trait which we cannot clearly see on the video. Maybe he is slower than his herd-mates? Maybe he wasn't being vigilant enough when he went down to the river for a drink? Maybe he's is kinda dumb and he zigged when he should of zaggeed? Maybe he's old and the wolves saw him putting a heat pad on his arthritic knees? ;-)

                          Even if the answer to all those questions is no, especially if he was with a herd at the time of the attack, he must have had some trait that made the wolves pick him.

                          Predators do not choose their prey at random, they go for the most amount of food for the least amount of energy, this means that the bull must have had some trait that caused the wolves to think he would make an easy lunch... even if we can't see it.

                          All things being equal, the biologist in me likes the first answer, but the engineer in me likes the second answer.

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                          • #58
                            Yeah but then they trophy hunt and we get screwed.

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                            • #59
                              Good response Ken and for the most part agreeable. Shane after thinking about the trophy hunting and after watching a grizzley attempt to take down a large mature bull elk which was left behind by the fleeing herd of cows and calves on Discovery tonight, I remarked to my wife that perhaps the bull was injured or arthritic. How bizarre that Ken mentioned the same possible malady. We might never know if this is true in all cases but when I have more time I do want to share one evening that I watched six wolves attempt to lure a elk from the herd. I sometimes have my little Sony video camera with me but did not that day, only two other witnesses to validate the sighting. Thanks for taking the time to reply guys.

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                              • #60
                                Hey since no one else has much of an answer, what do you think of the .338 federal as one of the new cartridges that might actually be worth a hoot? I'm thinking this might be a great choice for someone after elk that's less experienced and can't quite handle a .300 or .338 mag, or someone that just doesn't want to get bashed by those two out of a lightweight "mountain rifle"? They can have the big .338 bullets but not the big .338 kick. They won't have the same kind of velocity, but the unseasoned shooter in question shouldn't be making terribly long shots anyway.

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