Elk population counts on Yellowstone's northern range.

The table below (with my additions in red) was taken from http://www.nps.gov/yell/nature/northernrange/appendixb.htm

Ralph Maughan

 

Elk counts, population estimates, and number of animals removed by hunting and/or management reduction programs, 1922-1996. (Data for 1922-1976 is from Houston 1982; data for 1975-1996 from T. Lemke et al., Montana Dept. Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, unpubl. data.)

Year Date Actual
Count
Estimated
Population
# of Elk
Removed
Comments

1922-23
 

 

 
82
 
1923-24
 

 

 
55
 
1924-25
 

 

 
425
 
1925-26
 

 

 
168
 
1926-27
 

 

 
826
 
1927-28
 

 

 
1,716
 
1928-29
 

 

 
15
 
1929-30
 
8,257
 
422
 
1930-31
 
7,696
 
318 Considered to be a very poor census.
1931-32
 
10,624
 
327
 
1932-33
 
11,521
 
179
 
1933-34
 
10,042
 
147
 
1934-35
 
10,112
 
3,265 Combined ground and aerial counts; other census data are ground counts unless otherwise indicated.
1935-36
 
10,281
 
2,844
 
1936-37
 
8,794
 
831
 
1937-38
 
10,976
 
3,823
 
1938-39
 

 

 
3,278
 
1939-40
 

 

 
138
 
1940-41
 

 

 
287
 
1941-42
 

 

 
2,216
 
1942-43
 
8,235
 
7,230
 
1943-44
 

 

 
135
 
1944-45
 

 

 
403
 
1945-46
 
8,513
 
2,167
 
1946-47
 

 

 
3,145
 
1947-48
 
7,815
 
1,009
 
1948-49
 
9,496
 
2,286
 
1949-50
 

 

 
874
 
1950-51
 

 

 
2,083
 
1951-52
 

 

 
3,800
 
1952-53
 

 

 
282
 
1953-54
 

 

 
809
 
1954-55
 

 

 
1,361
 
1955-56
 
6,963
 
6,535 Helicopter count.
1956-57
 

 

 
1,289
 
1957-58
 

 

 
586
 
1958-59
 
4,884
 
1,706 Considered to be a very poor census; done by fixed-wing aircraft.
1959-60
 

 

 
859
 
1960-61
 
8,150
 
1,459 Done by helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft.
1961-62
 
5,725
 
4,744 Helicopter count.
1962-63
 

 

 
1,820
 
1963-64
 

 

 
1,151
 
1964-65
 
4,865
 
1,904 Helicopter count.
1965-66
 

 

 
1,270
 
1966-67
 
3,842
 
2,648 Helicopter count.
1967-68
 
3,172
 
1,100 Done by fixed-wing aircraft. Elk reductions stopped.
1968-69
 
4,305
 
50 Done by fixed-wing aircraft.
1969-70
 
5,543b
 
50 Done by fixed-wing aircraft.
1970-71
 
7,281
 
45 Helicopter count.
1971-72
 
8,215
 
75 Helicopter count.
1972-73
 
9,981
 
154 Helicopter count.
1973-74
 
10,529
 
210 Helicopter count.
1974-75
 
12,607
 
147 Helicopter count.
1975-76 12/17-18/75 12,014 12,354 1,529 Beginning of late-season elk hunts.
1976-77 1/23-24/77 8,980 9,199 219 Survey conditions exceptionally poor resulting in inaccurate count.
1977-78 12/20-21/77 12,680 12,941 1,067
 
1978-79 12/29-30/78 10,838 11,149 341
 
1979-80
 
No count
 
661
 
1980-81
 
No count
 
376
 
1981-82 1/6-7/82 16,019 16,473 1,359
 
1982-83
 
No count
 
1,881
 
1983-84
 
No count
 
2,061
 
1984-85
 
No count
 
1,571
 
1985-86 12/19-20/85 16,286 16,885 1,498
 
1986-87 12/10/86 17.007 17,901 1,739
 
1987-88 1/19/88 18,913 19,316 579
 
1988-89 1/26;2/9/89 10,265 11,148 2,896
 
1989-90 1/18-19/90 14,829 15,805 1,299 Survey conditions exceptionally poor resulting in inaccurate count.
1990-91 2/6/91 9,456 10,287 1,005
 
1991-92 12/16/92 12,589 15,587 4,515
 
1992-93 11/21;12/3/92 17,585 18,066 2,055
 
1993-94 1/20-24/94 19,045 19,359 527 This was the greatest number of elk ever recorded
 
1994-95 12/21/94 16,791 17,290 2,538
 

14 wolves reintroduced in March 1995

1995-96
 
No count
 

 

 

17 more wolves reintroduced in March 1996

1996-97
 
No count
 
Limited aircraft availability and poor flying conditions resulted in no count.

This was a very severe winter with elk mortality in the thousands. The lack of a count is very unfortunate.

  12/97 13,400   2,365  hunt  
  12/98 11,742      
  12/27/99 14,538      
  1/01 13,400      
  12/01 11,969      
  1/03  

 9,215

> 11,652 718 hunt in Jan 2003 The 9215 count was based on very poor counting conditions. the 11,652 count was done after a snowstorm (it is unofficial, but under good counting conditions)
 

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