Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
Home | Intranet | Digital Measures | Help

Elk Monitoring Project (Elk POP II)

Elk herd


July 2010 - June 2013


Rocky Mountain elk is an important game species in Wyoming and elsewhere in the West. Many efforts of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (i.e., harvest, habitat enhancement, feeding) are focused on monitoring and managing elk in the state. The survey, data collection, and modeling protocols in place within WGFD have evolved over the years but may not be currently optimized to allow efficient management of elk under current fiscal, logistical, or environmental constraints. Regionally (in the West) there is a call for standardizing data collection and sharing of ungulate monitoring data to enable needed regional analyses such as those addressing climate change or habitat alteration.

The primary objectives of the project are to: i) evaluate sources of uncertainty in elk population models, ii) determine the sensitivity of elk population models to variation in vital rates and extrinsic drivers, iii) evaluate the effectiveness of different types of elk monitoring programs, including population surveys and survival studies, and iv) develop parameter estimation procedures to best characterize elk population dynamics given various sources of field data from annual monitoring. The study will primarily involve state monitoring data and vital rate estimates from existing studies and the literature. Once a basic framework is in place, this project may be expanded to examine other ungulate species that are monitored by the WGFD.

Research Products and Activities

Technical Publications

  • Elk Monitoring Project - 2011 Annual ReportAbstract |

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 142

Post Docs: 53

University Staff: 240

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 701

Scientific Publications: 1936

Presentations: 4260



  • Matthew KauffmanPrincipal Investigator
  • Thomas MorrisonCo-Principal Investigator

Funding Agencies

  • Wyoming Game and Fish Department


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey