Data collected from GPS collars on more than 100 male and female elk in southwestern Alberta showed U of A researchers the study population could be divided into two categories: bold runners and shy hiders:
Bold-runner elk, both males and females, moved quickly through the study area and preferred to graze in open fields for the most abundant and nutritious grass. GPS data showed shy hiders stayed and grazed on the sparse vegetation of wooded areas and moved slowly and cautiously.U of A researchers found far more bold-runners were taken by elk hunters than shy hiders.
But the GPS data collected over one hunting season shows hunters are going for the most visible or available elk and understandably more, bold-runner elks showed up in the scopes of high-powered rifles.Researchers put GPS collars on a specific group of male elk.
The same held true for a wider age group of 77 female elk in the study. All females between two and nine years of age and identified as bold runners were taken by hunters. All the female elk in that age group identified as shy hiders survived the hunt.
The researchers found something interesting in the survival rate of older female elk.All the females older than nine years survived the hunting season. Ciuti says it shows in females that whether they're bold runner or shy hiders, if they lived to 9 years of age, they adapted to hunters and became less visible targets.
Brian Murphy | EurekAlert!
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