Elk Movement During Wildfires
Whenever there is an outbreak of Colorado Wildfires I receive several questions from Big Game Hunters on how the fires affect Elk and Deer movement. Based on my personal experience hunting in the midst of wildfires they have little impact on the movement of Elk and other big game species. On previous hunts I have focused on areas away from the fires with little success. Once I returned to the normal areas the Elk were moving in I was able to find Elk herds moving among the ashes.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife conducted a study during the Cameron Peak Fire where they tracked the movement of a previously tagged Elk herd. This study does a fantastic job of illustrating how the tagged Elk reacted as the fires burned and spread throughout the area. CPW biologists found that the Elk maintained their seasonal habitats finding green areas to forage for food. Watch the video below for more information on how Elk typically move during wildfires.
Impact on Elk Movement During a Wildfire
If you are concerned about the effect on hunting areas impacted by wildfires don’t let that single point of data keep you home. For big game like Elk and Mule Deer they are capable of getting away from fire that is immediately threatening them. But, they will remain close to their normal patterns of movement finding green areas among the burned out vegetation.