Elk were reintroduced to the Cypress Hills in 1938; however, the herd grew to considerable size due to a lack of natural predators.
In 1978, the first annual elk harvest took place inside the park. The decision to introduce a management hunt was based on a study that established a carrying capacity of 700 elk in the Cypress Hills area.
Each winter, an aerial survey is conducted to determine the actual number of elk in the Cypress Hills. This survey is taken before calving season. To compensate for calving and natural winter mortality, the herd size from the aerial survey is increased by 27%.
If the herd estimate is over the established carrying capacity, a harvest through a limited "hunting authorization" draw is scheduled. The four day per week harvest occurs from mid-October until the end of November. Harvesting does not take place when elk numbers are lower than the threshold of 700.
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