Friday, October 23, 2009

Monster Elk Taken in Yukon Territory

Bull of a Lifetime!

Many of you are probably aware of the non-typical 9X10 elk taken this week by in the Canadian Yukon Territory. Almost two months ago,On September 25, Canadian Dall sheep guide Alan Klassen killed an elk for the very first time! Using a .270 with 130 grain bullets, (about 50 grains shy of where I would start...) he anchored the elk with two shots.

Photo Credit: Alan Klassen

I did a little research on the history of these introduced elk herds. Yukon is the northernmost area of the elk's range. Elk occasionally migrate north into southeastern Yukon near the border with British Columbia and a small but stable population has established itself there as populations grow and expand their range.

Photo Credit: Alan Klassen

In the late 1940s, the Yukon Fish and Game Association successfully introduced elk in southwestern Yukon. Nineteen wild elk were transferred from Elk Island National Park and released near BraeburnLake in 1951. Another 30 were captured and relocated in 1954, with the intent to provide elk for new hunting opportunities. Between 1989 and 1994 the Yukon government released 119 more elk in the areas of Braeburn Lake, Hutshi Lakes and Takhini River valley in order to bolster the now growing elk population.

Yukon Elk Distribution Map
Image Credit: Management Plan for Elk in the Yukon

The elk have remained within a triangle bounded by Whitehorse, Carmacks, and Haines Junction, and are in two distinct and separate herds. The two herds are: the Takhini herd which numbers about 175 elk, while the Braeburn herd has about 85. The estimates made of the population are based on an inventory conducted in Fall 2007, along with radio-collar observations which are still being done, and aerial photo counts; but elk behaviour and the terrain makes it quite difficult to get a precise count.

Photo Credit: Alan Klassen

The movements and mingleing between the Takhini Valley Herd and the Braeburn Herd are not really clear though it is thought to be minimal. Small mixed groups and lone bulls are sometimes seen quite far away from their known range, for example in the Haines Junction, Dezadeash Lake, and Deep Creek areas. But is not known which herd these animals may come from. In recent years the number of elk have dwindled in the Hutshi Lakes area since their release in the 50's. And though elk have inhabited the area since their initial release, it appears that they may have migrated to a very large burn near the Fox Lake. The abundant new growth has been a magnet to the elk.

1 comment:

The Daily Gun Picture said...

I've seen this on several sites.
I don't hunt anymore because of my disability.
But nice Blog.