Stop the elk in New York!!

susanzone5(z5NY)February 15, 2006

Hey folks, New York State legislators are going to vote on whether to reintroduce wild ELK (as big as horses) back into the state. This would only benefit hunters and could be more of a nuisance than the deer have become.

Elk Foundation - Catskill Mountains Chapter, PO Box 496, Phoenicia, NY 12464. This is one group that is pushing elk. There are many of these elk pushing groups in the state. They are mostly hunters and non-gardeners! Founded in 1984, it's a nonprofit, has 110,000 members, 12 NYS Chapters and has generated 90 million dollars to conserve and enhance nearly 2.7 million acres of wildlife habitat across North America for elk.

Use your voice to stop this if you don't want elk foraging in your gardens and wandering in the roads.

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shic_2006(4a 5a)

It is ElK's basic rights to grow where they were growing. No matter, how ugly, how horrible, they have a right to their homeland.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2006 at 12:51PM
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But it's not their homeland anymore. Conditions weren't suitable for them, for whatever reason, so they left or died out. Humans are not gods. When one species leaves because what they need is no longer available, it would be selfish to bring them back artificially just to serve the needs of humans who WANT them here for their own satisfaction, whatever that may be.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2006 at 1:13PM
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shic_2006(4a 5a)

Elks were artificially removed by our government for fearing the spread of a fungus. The fungus is easily treated now. But elks are eliminated as a result of our unnatural policy.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2006 at 1:52PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

And I thought deer were bad!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2006 at 3:12PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

I haven't responded to this thread before because I wanted to see what others felt. I am not a wildlife activist per se but I do feel that humans have destroyed many natural habitats and removed native species in many cases for their own purposes. In short, If the elk were native to this region I see no reason not to reintroduce them. I haven't seen elk roaming free since I moved from Montana.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 6:27AM
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How would you feel if their populations got out of control like deer, and they came down out of the mountains into your yard and in the road? What about their natural population controls? Are they still here or would humans have to reintroduce them too?

Humans are part of the biology of this planet. If we take over a habitat, then the animals that can't live here will go somewhere else where they can find what they need. If we physically airlift them back here, aren't we looking at a natural fiasco? Isn't this cruel to the elk?

Do you want horse size animals eating your garden? Keep in mind that it's the hunters who started this, who brought this up at town boards all over the country, never publicising the meetings. This may go down without the public ever having a say. The reason they want the elk is so they have a bigger target to shoot.

I'm not looking for a fight here, just to inform those who don't want elk in their yards to call or write their state officials. Likewise, if you want elk, then do the same.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 9:25AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

So you are going to institute border patrols to keep out elk and moose? Forget about deliberate reintroduction, neither of these are that far away. There has been a elk herd in either Potter of Elk county in Pennsylvania my entire life. It hasn't grown exponentially, and for many years, they were afraid of losing it. Even though very heavily protected, about one a year would be shot by hunters who didn't really know what they were looking at.

Under the current circumstances, the DEC is crazy if they allow the importation of elk from other parts of the country - because of the threat of chronic wasting disease. If that Pennsylvania herd is finally large enough to divide, and they want to move part of it 20 miles north, that is a different matter.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 9:52AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

I wasn't looking for a fight either I just expressed what I was thinking. I know I am a bit weird but I really don't mind it when the deer come into my yard. The squirrels and voles already eat most everything I plant anyway.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 11:19AM
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shic_2006(4a 5a)

How about reintroduce Elms but small bonsai plants only.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 2:33PM
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starmoon(Z5 NY)


I figured I would put my two cents in... Hope you don't mind. I can see both sides.

If these groups wanted to introduce elk in the Catskills as a way to replace them into an area that they naturally lived, I don't really have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is that the elk will eventually have to be hunted to control populations since all their natural predators are gone.

I visited the elk herd in the Alleghenys last summer on vacation. I know that in this area, they have a lottery every year to see who is going to get to kill elk. It's quite a sport for them I guess. I am not a hunter myself, so this whole thing seems rather cruel and bizarre to me; Reintroducing animals and then holding lotteries to kill them. How backwards it seems. It's become a big draw for this area tourism-wise, so I guess that's why it's tolerated. The area where the herd is in the state of PA has a very small human population and this may also be why seems to work there.

Conservation rarely works unfortunately. There are just too many variables to play around with. If the elk are just going to be put back in this area and seen as an object for hunting and as a nuisance to people, it seems to me that these organizations should reconsider. What would be the benefit?

-starmoon *)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 3:57PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Maybe I should have said before that I wouldn't bring them back to populated areas. Elk like other large animals need space. Here in our own little town the deer were everywhere and last year they did have to thin the herds out quite a bit which saddened me grately but because there is no hunting allowed around here I understand that it was for the health of the remaining animals but it still upset me. The deer herds here were so great that you couldn't drive down a street anywhere in town without seeing at least one. It did present a safety problem especially for motorists but I still enjoyed seeing them even when they were in my yard eating all my cosmos. I do understand that things like reintroducing animals back into an area does need to be studied extensively before doing it. I am just not necessarily opposed to it if it is done with forethought and in the best interest of the animals.

BTW, my DH is a hunter and a fisherman but I am not and take no part in that activity but there have been times in our lives that I was thankful for the deer, antelope, or even elk that fed our family in leaner times.

OK now I will shut up and go on to other things.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 6:17AM
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starmoon(Z5 NY)

Hi Everybody,

For anyone who is interested in the NY Elk Restoration Feasibility Study from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, check this link:

Looks like they have studied this reintroduction pretty extensively. From reading this study, I learned that the elk release would take place on public lands to minimize the impact on private land owners. These areas tend to have low population densities and few roads, similar to the Allegheny State Park in PA.

On this website, there is also a page with fact sheets on various issues related to reintroducing elk:

In general, I have no problem with restoring the elk population if it's done in a smart and safe way on public lands. I also have no problem with people hunting wild animals for food purposes, especially if they need to. I just can't fathom people who hunt only to put the animal's dead heads on the walls and tell tall tales to their buddies about their exploits.

I think what struck me most about this post was that organization that was backing the reintroduction is mostly comprised of hunters. I doubt that this group really cares about reintroducing elks as a benefit for the their population or for the local environment. Elks are not an endangered species. From what I can gather, the 2 main reasons for returning them to the Catskills are hunting and tourism. If the people that live in this area are comfortable with those motivations, they will have deal with all the drawbacks (car accidents, hunting accidents, agricultural damage, diseases).

Penny: I lived in Cheektowaga for a while some years ago and remember some of the issues with a deer herd in a Depew park. I must admit that I enjoyed visiting the park when I lived there to view the deer and other tamed animals. Since, I have read in the paper a few times about the "deer lady" who was arrested several times for feeding the herd. It is sad that the population of these animals has grown so out of control that they have to be exterminated like rats. Around this area of the state, people are up in arms in Scotia about the town killing canadian geese who are polluting a public swimming beach with their poop. I guess we all have our own public wildlife concerns.

I am still not sure how I feel about the issue. I guess I am now more informed anyhow... : )

starmoon *)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 9:49AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

When we first moved to NY we lived out by the park on Losson Road and we also visited it to see the deer, chipmonks and all. Here in the area we live in now in Niagara County, a lot of the land where deer roamed was taken over by developers which naturally forced the deer out into the surrounding neighborhoods. One doe even had her baby in a lady's back yard by her garden shed last year. The deer that were eliminated last year were donated to the western NY food bank or one of its counterparts. I also am very opposed to hunters that only hunt for the sport and to hang a trophy on the wall.

This will always be an issure with land owners, officials and hunters and there probably never will be a solution that makes everyone happy.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 10:18AM
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Thinking that reintroducing an animal only in areas with low human population is a bit naive. The animals make their own choices,and they may not care to stay where they were placed. How much money and time was wasted reintroducing the lynx to the Adirondacks a few years back? Many were roadkill,and others were found in distant areas such as New Brunswick,Canada.I don't believe there are any left in the Adirondacks.

Some people want to open another can of worms by trying to foist the gray wolf upon us.It is doubtful that this particular wolf ever lived in NY,and our own Eastern coyote has many wolf genes that it picked up during its migration here. If people who live in large cities want to have a "wilderness experience" by hearing the howling of wolves,I can tell them that they can enjoy the coyote song just as much.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 1:24PM
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I was also waiting to see if anyone would response to this "Sky is Falling" topic.

I live in a rural farm area SE of East Aurora, NY and we have all kinds of wildlife. Been listening to the coyotes the past few mornings, and saw a gorgeous fox in the back pasture over the weekend.

Sorry, but I can't get upset over wildlife eating peoples landscaping .. and I think cell phones are more dangerous than elk or deer! Watched a woman swerve off the road in front of me this morning on dry pavement, she was OK, but was she reaching for that d**m phone?


    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 1:43PM
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Don't be so sure that all the "natural" predators are gone...mountain lions are being reintroduced to upstate New York and there have even been sightings in my county. I don't think I'd be thrilled to have an elk munching my garden, but I am even less thrilled by the idea of having such a large predator around. I have 20 acres of woodlot, and never worried before when my kids wanted to play in our woods. Now I have this mental image of a large cat dropping out of a tree onto one of them. When we visited Colorado several years ago there were signs on the walking trails telling people how to defend themselves from attack. I find this a bit scarier than having horse-sized herbivores on my property!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 4:40PM
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First off.Us NON NATIVE white folks killed of the elk in NY.They were never plentiful but did exist in small herds.As for hunters bringing them back to kill off again. It will be years before there are huntable amounts of elk to hunt. Pa has had elk in western Pa for over 100 years. Only recently have they been hunted.If you investigate this restocking program you will find they are being introduced in remote pockets of the Catskill mt.ONLY! Elk unlike deer are browsing animals.Leaves,grasses, buds ect. The Catskills aren't the Rockies.Elk only migrate when the food supply dwindles. Brows is plentiful in the Catskills. Any migration would be from the tops of mountains to the valleys.There are no major highways in these remote areas. Elk\auto accidents would be few. SLOW DOWN!!!!!!!!!!These elk are being introduced for ALL to enjoy. Studies in Pa have shown that having elk brings in millions of dollars in tourist money to the area where they live.New York is not funding this project. It's being funded with private money.Wildlife groups, hunters and many other groups.Unless you live in one of these remote areas your plants should be safe.The next big project will be raising money to stop non native plants from choking off our marshes, stream lakes, ponds, and forest.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 6:00PM
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If your worried about Elk then you are going to have a hissy fit when the moose population moves in. According to an article I read not too long ago it's expected that NYS will have it's own naturally introduced herds of moose within the next 20 yrs if not sooner and they will continue to thrive and reproduce once they move in. They are working their way down from the north all on their own looking for food and breeding grounds as their numbers increase in the areas north to us.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 9:48PM
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There are between 100 and 200 moose in NY at present.They estimate that we will have around 500 in ten years.I recall back in the early 80's the DEC said there were no moose in NY.Like the cougar people were seeing moose in the high peeks area.When the moose started showing up on car windshields the (DEC) started saying yes they are here but just passing though.They said the same about black bears in the Binghamton area. They were just visiting from PA.When the then head of region 7 Mike Hall did a study in Chenango County on black bear he found females with cubs. Females do not travel far with cubs. It's my belief DEC denies these animals at first to protect them from illegal killings. I look forward to having elk in NY.Like bears and all the other creatures we need to learn to live with then.I've been a hunter most of my life.I enjoy the sport.But deep down I enjoy watching\seeing\touching nature. I hunt with one gun and two cameras. The gun sits beside me while the cameras are on my lap ready to go.We white people are visitors in this country.These animals belong here.I'll take bear,elk,moose or deer over non native flowers any day in my yard

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 7:33PM
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Brian_NY_NJ_PA(zone 5/6 NY/NJ/)

Here's an idea, susanzone5: Have a 6 feet tall stockade fence put in around your yard. That solves that problem! I haven't had one plant eaten by a deer since I did that.

My suspicion is that you aren't so much concerned about Elk in the area gardens as you are about being against hunting in general.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 1:24PM
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Brian, you are so wrong. Feeling a little post-holiday bah humbug?
If it were legal, I'd invite all the hunters to have breakfast and shoot those garden-eating deer from my deck. I live in the woods on 4 acres and have a small fenced-in veggie garden. I also own a shotgun.

Craig, we do have roads up here, which are already filled with animals we have to be careful not to hit.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 3:14PM
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Stop the elk. Stop the deer. Stop the bears,coyote,timber snakes,rabbits,mice ........Why is it only humans can live in NY. The way I see it there are several million to many now.Lets stop the people.People cause more damage,fear,and death then all the creatures in north America.By the time the elk population gets anywhere near nuisance stage we'll all be dead. The elk in Penn. were introduced nearly one hundred years ago. It's taken that long to get the herd up to about two hundred.I'm a hunter. But more importantly I'm a conservationist.Hunting is part of conservation.Without it you wouldn't have a blade of grass on your lawn.In the early 80's I was hiking in Allegany state park. while there were large trees there were no new growth. The ground was void of almost any plants. All this because the deer population was so high.Hunting solved the problem and yes there are still deer there. I can't wait for the elk to be released. Not to hunt them ,but to watch and photograph them.No the lynx release didn't work.Thats a gamble they took. Was it a waist of money? No.What it cost for the lynx project was a drop in the bucket compared to many of the things the state throws money away on.I don't hear fisherman complaining that eagles and fisher are eating all the fish.I hear them say they saw them while fishing.There is no government money going into the elk restocking. It's all private money donated by hunting and conservation groups.I'd plant a garden if I thought an elk would show up.But this is human nature. Cry wolf before you know the facts or anything about elk.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 11:13PM
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I live in Washington State, but was from WNY. We have wonderful herds of elk in our area and growing all the time. Perhaps New York will be helping to solve the elk dilema of what to do with all our elk. No one wants them here in their neighborhood. Elk are a treat to see crashing across an Olympic mountain river as you float down in a canoe. My husband had good times hunting elk with a muzzleloader for years. But they do not stay in the mountains and backcountry, especially when the herds discover gardens, farms, orchards and school yards. One local school yard has a herd that is a frequent visitor. Not only are they big and potentially dangerous, but leave manure. The elk have also learned to pack their shoulders into fences and push as a group to push over heavy garden fences. It is not unusual to see the elk in with a herd of cows. Elk are not easily intimidated by dogs or people once they learn that there is no threat.
It has only been a few years since the Canada geese went from being a novelty to a real problem elk are the same. Some elk are fitted with tracking collars that transmit to highway signs to warn drivers that they are near the highway. The elk are on the brink of moving into unwelcome territory. I still like to see them, but I wish there were more preditors.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 10:31PM
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Starmoon, Conservation seldom works??????????Just after the turn of the 19th century the only deer and bear left in NY were mostly in the Adirondacks.There were no moose,coyote,eagles,falcons,not to mention only 25% of NY had forest left. The other 75% was stench filled rivers and desecrated burned former timber land. But your right conservation doesn't work.As for spreading CWD. The elk being released aren't being thrown out like a littler of kittens at a farm. They are tested for all diseases.Also,The areas they are being released in are former elk ranges.It will be years before hunting will be needed to control the heard size.These are not only hunters releasing the but also conservation groups.If the day comes they are hunted then thats the hunters business. They payed for them.Not a cent came from tax paying dollars.Take the time to read and comprehend the articles found on line.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 10:57PM
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adirondackgardener(Western Maine)

>Conservation seldom works...

In addition to the deer craig76 mentions, during the 19th century, across the northeast states and in my beloved former home in the Adirondacks, moose were hunted to near extinction or driven from their habitat by the destruction of the woodlands for farms or for the production of charcoal or timber, or simply by widespread forest fires caused by the railroads. The exception was my newly adopted home of Maine, (and yes, Canada also) where moose were alllowed to thrive in the north woods and are still protected by reasonable hunting regulations which insure their survival. Careful attention to conserving their habitat was key to their ability to remain. If you now see moose in NY or Vermont, New Hamphire or Mass, you might thank long-gone conservationists here in Maine or Quebec for their efforts.

Hello to my former NY neighbors.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 9:14PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

I am so sorry to hear people complain about the wildlife in their area. I am really thankful that I am able to see them roam free and not have to go to a zoo to see them. I stood at my kitchen window this morning and watched a coyote lope past the window. It was a beautiful site. I know I am in the minority but I treasure the brief encounters that I have with the wildlife that were put on the earth to share its space with me. I don't have much of a problem with deer because most of what I plant is not palatble to deer. I don't leave small pets outside unprotected so there is no problem with a wolf, coyote or mountain lion taking them for dinner. I try to live in harmony with all the wildlife that are in the area and feel blessed when I see them. It could be worse. I could have to deal with drug dealers or sex offenders roaming the neighborhood.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 9:52AM
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Very well said Penny! !!!! :)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 8:43PM
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I can see both sides of this. It kind of makes me glad the dinosaurs are not still around, though.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 11:17PM
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Penny I love what you said. Trust me having been in the Law Enforcment business for a while in New York City, I must admit I have had far less negative encounters with coyotes and what not than hardened criminals. i say bring on the elk

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 1:19PM
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