Feb 16, 2011 5:24 PM by Mark Holyoak (Missoula)

Record elk herd above Missoula

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologists recorded the highest amount of elk ever in their latest aerial survey of Mount Jumbo near Missoula.

The crews observed two groups of elk totaling 91 animals - 21 on the north saddle and 70 on top of the mountain.

"Given that the size and quality of a herd's winter range is one of the most limiting factors for herd size the fact that Jumbo's herd is growing, speaks leagues about Missoula's efforts to preserve and improve habitat for these elk," said Conservation Lands Manager Morgan Valliant of Missoula Parks and Recreation.

FWP has trend data dating from 1989 to 2011. It does not conduct aerial surveys every winter.

FWP did not conduct the surveys in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005.