About the Author
I was born and raised in Colorado and I have been elk hunting in the state for nearly 35 years. I attended Colorado State University where I attained a degree in Natural Resource Management. This degree introduced me to courses in geographic information systems, botany, dendrology (study of trees), and most importantly, wildlife biology. After graduating, I began working as an environmental consultant. My role has involved calculating the impacts that activities such as oil and gas development, mining, and renewable energy projects have on the natural environment. In order to do this, I had to work closely with agencies such as the BLM, USFS, and the state game management agencies to learn their processes. As a result of this, I became very familiar with the approaches and the methods these agencies used to determine where animals were likely to be found at certain times of the year and the forces that cause animals to move to particular locations and habitat types as a result of pressure from human activities.
A few years ago, I was working with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the USFS on a proposed oil and gas project located in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The project area had a large concentration of elk and we were discussing the potential impacts to the elk seasonal ranges if development were to occur. One of the USFS biologists was concerned about the impact to what he called “elk security habitat” and how the loss of this habitat could have a detrimental effect on the elk herds in the area. In order to determine the potential effect, we had to identify where the security habitat was located. It was at this time that I was introduced to all the parameters the agencies used to identify different habitat types and why elk would use a particular habitat type as a result of human activity. It was also at this time that I realized the value of this information and how it could be applied to finding the most likely locations where elk would be located during the hunting seasons.
Over the course of the next several years, I began analyzing all of the publically available data to try to pull it all together into one easy to understand source. At first, this knowledge was for my own personal use to serve as an aid to help me have more success while elk hunting. One day, a friend and I were sitting around having a few beers and we started talking about elk hunting. He had never been elk hunting before and began asking me for adivice on where to go, what to look for in the field, etc. and I started to explain some of the research I had been working on and how this could probably help him if he decided to go elk hunting. He was immediately impressed and told me I should consider making this information available to other elk hunters. The idea behind the ElkTracker™ Maps was born.
By analyzing the hunter success rates, elk density per GMU, elk ranges and migration patterns, roads and land open to the public, and most importantly the characteristics of the vegetation in an area, I developed the ElkTracker™ Map series. These maps were designed with one thing in mind—to pinpoint the “elk hot spots” and make this information available on a statewide scale. While I cannot guarantee that elk will be hanging out in each of these hot spots, I can say with a high degree of confidence that each of these areas has the three things elk need to survive–Forage, Cover, and nearby Water–and knowing where these places are located is the key to successful elk hunting. I hope you find this site and the ElkTracker™ Maps useful. If you do purchase one of the products available on the site, please let me know if they helped you out during your next hunting trip. Happy Trails. Featured in the Denver Post.