The seven Western States with over-the-counter (OTC) elk tags have reported the 2015 elk harvest and are included in the table below.
The table is ranked by highest total elk harvested to the lowest (pending 2015 report from Utah). The table includes all elk harvest from all limited entry and general seasons combined.
Table 1. 2015 Total Elk Harvest from 7 Western States
|State||OTC Tags||Bull Elk||Cow Elk||Total Elk||Total Hunters||Success||Avg. Days Hunted|
- R&NR = Over-the -Counter (OTC) Elk Tags available for both Residents & Non-residents in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Washington
- R = OTC tags only for Residents In Wyoming and Montana, Non-residents must apply. – see Table Notes below.
Most Elk were Harvested in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho
As always, Colorado had the largest elk harvest again in 2015, because they still have the largest elk population. Total harvest increased slightly over 2014 mostly because of an increase in the numbers of cow elk harvested. Colorado also still has more hunters than any other state, but the hunting pressure is spread over many different seasons.
Montana had a big increase in the number of elk harvested in 2015 over 2014, topping 30,000 elk and passing Wyoming for 2nd place. Montana was first place for the total number of hunters, but still has an overall success rate of over 27%.
Wyoming is now ranked 3nd for total elk harvest, but still claims an amazing overall success rate over 40% (including resident OTC tags).
Idaho was back down to about 2013 levels from the high numbers of hunters and high harvest in 2014. Remember that total elk harvest increased in 2014 by 26% to almost 33,000 elk up from 26,000 in 2013 and hunters increased by about 8.5% between 2013 and 2014.
Need Utah to Report 2015 Elk Harvest Results
Utah still has not reported their 2015 Elk harvest data. Data shown are 2014 data. Until then, I am waiting to rank the rest of the states by total harvest. Utah is always last to report, but since they have reported the 2015 General Deer harvest, it makes it seem like they are hiding something. Perhaps there were more cow elk harvested with the antlerless control tags last year than they want to admit.
2015 Elk Harvest in Oregon
The Oregon elk harvest was virtually the same as 2014, with a few more bull elk harvested and a few less cows. The total numbers of hunters were also about the same and hunter success stayed at 17.5% Unfortunately, Oregon did not report the total number of days spent in the field by elk hunters, so the Average Number of Days Hunted is unknown.
2015 Elk Harvest in Washington
Total elk harvest in Washington increased from 2014 to 2015 from 6,966 to 7,829 (12.4%), with most of the increase coming from bulls. There was about 1,400 more elk hunters in Washington in 2015, an increase of 2.1%. Washington usually has the lowest success rate in this group and reported the total success for 2015 at 11.5% (Archery success = 11.2%; Rifle success = 11.5% and Muzzleloader success = 11.9%).
Table Notes – In the table, Bull Elk include all Antlered Elk (including spikes). Cow Elk include all Antlerless Elk (cows and calves). Total Elk Harvested, Total Hunters, Hunter Success and the Average Days hunted includes the harvest of all elk from all hunt seasons in all units by all hunting methods combined. Average Days hunted is the average of all hunters, not just successful hunters. I no longer keep track of elk harvest data of four states (Arizona, California, New Mexico or Nevada) that have only Limited Entry elk tags.
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