February 2015: Wildlife officials counted a 24% population increase this winter for the elk herd that migrates between Yellowstone and Montana. This northern herd is now 4,844 strong. That’s almost 1,000 more elk than the 2013 count, and the highest number since 2010.
The northern herd's counterpart is the southern herd of equal quantity that winters in Jackson Hole at the National Elk Refuge.
There is much speculation as to why the elk population has made a huge jump. Some point to the reduced number of wolves in the Yellowstone area. Some think that the elimination of the late-season elk hunt near Gardiner, Montana has had a positive effect.
Whatever the reason, wildlife officials think that it is certainly good news and is a sign of stabilization if not a trend.
Related Article: Yellowstone Elk Decline in 2004, But Are Wolves to Blame?