Management strategies proposed to mitigate the risk of brucellosis transmission between elk and cattle (e.g., test-and-slaughter of all elk, elimination of feedgrounds, use of contraceptives) could result in a substantial decrease in elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) populations. These strategies could impact hunting and outfitting industries through reduced regional elk populations. Loss of hunters, particularly nonresidents, could result in economic losses for the state and hinder elk management. We estimated 2 empirical models using panel data from multiple hunt areas to determine effects of elk population changes on demand for elk hunting licenses in northwest Wyoming. First, we used a fixed-effects logit model to estimate elk hunter success by hunt area as a function of elk density and other characteristics. Second, we estimated demand for elk licenses as a function of license and hunt area characteristics, including hunter success rates and elk populations. With the resulting equation system, we predicted the effects of reduced elk populations on hunter success and elk license demand. Elk population positively affects hunter success and license demand. On average, model results predict that each 10% reduction in elk population would cause a 3.5% decrease in resident elk hunting applicants and a 0.4 to 1.4% decrease in nonresident applicants. In the 7 elk-herd units affected by feedground management, a 50% decrease in elk population could decrease annual license revenues by $83,000 and annual regional expenditures associated with elk hunting by $520,000. These costs should be weighed against potential benefits of brucellosis management, including reduced feedground management costs and reduced costs to cattle producers of brucellosis prevention activities.
Kauffman, Mandy E.; Rashford, Benjamin S.; and Peck, Dannele E.
"Unintended Consequences of Bovine Brucellosis Management on Demand for Elk Hunting in Northwestern Wyoming,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 6
, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol6/iss1/4