Elk and wheat
This addiction got the best of at least 250 young elk this winter, including many that had migrated from Union County, in the McKay Creek area southwest of Pendleton. The elk, 200 of which were calves, died because they had gorged themselves on winter wheat for months, Kirsch said. “
The winter wheat did the young elk in because their digestive systems cannot break it down and absorb its nutrients. This means some elk actually died of starvation because they were not absorbing nutrients from the winter wheat. “They starved to death on full stomachs,’’ Kirsch said.
Elk find winter wheat especially tasty from December through February when almost all the forage available is hard and cured. Once elk discover a winter wheat field, they know no better than to gorge on it.My point to bringing this story back is to point out that a lot of elk hunters I know say there are fewer and fewer elk around to hunt….and they blame it on wolves and mountain lions. Maybe not so much.