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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of open-entry spike-bull, limited-entry branched-bull harvesting on elk composition in Washington

Published source details

Bender L., Fowler P.E., Bernatouwicz J.A., Masser J.L. & Stream L.E. (2002) Effects of open-entry spike-bull, limited-entry branched-bull harvesting on elk composition in Washington. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 30, 1078-1084


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Prohibit or restrict hunting of particular sex/ breeding status/age animals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, before-and-after study in 1984–2000 in three forest and shrubland sites in Washington, USA (Bender et al. 2002) found that limiting hunting of adult male elk Cervus canadensis resulted in an increase in the numbers of males relative to females, but no change in numbers of calves relative to females. After hunting restrictions commenced, there were more male relative to female elk (6.7–12.9 males/100 females) than before hunting restrictions commenced (2.7–5.7 males/100 females). The abundance of calves relative to female elk did not change (after: 21–37 calves/100 females; before: 30–37 calves/100 females). The strategy of open-entry yearling hunting and limited hunting of elk ≥ 2.5 years old with branched antlers was introduced at one site in 1989 and at two sites in 1994. These sites were monitored in 1984–2000 and 1991–2000 respectively and covered 2,300–4,500 km2. Elk were counted from helicopters, and categorised by age and sex, in late February or early March each year.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)