Letter Re: Shocking Facts About Wolves, by Steven UP

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I would like to point out an error in Bonehead’s letter posted on SurvivalBlog on 6/30/06. He states that one ton of red meat is equivalent to two elk, which is false. Let us assume that the average bull elk weighs 1000 pounds (an optimistic assumption, but let’s run with Bonehead’s numbers), the average cow weighs 600 pounds, and the average calf weighs 300 pounds. Roughly 40.1 percent of an elk consists of edible muscle so that the average bull would provide 401 pounds of meat, the average cow 241, and the average calf 120. Thus one ton of red meat would be the equivalent of 5 bulls, 8 cows, or 17 calves per year. Using more realistic figures for average bulls and cows (700 and 500 pounds respectively), one ton of red meat is equivalent to 7 bulls or 10 cows. Thus, a population of 200 wolves could eat the equivalent of 1000-1400 bulls, or 1600-2000 cows, or 3400 calves. In terms of mule deer this would be equivalent to 5600 average mule deer bucks, or 6600 average mule deer does, or 12000 average mule deer fawns. Not being a Montanan I do not know what Montana’s wildlife populations are like, and whether or not this amount of killing would significantly dent the elk
or mule deer populations, but it certainly strikes me as being quite high. In those states with smaller elk and deer populations I am sure the effects would be far more noticeable.
Sources: Average game weights (North Dakota, first Google link that popped up) and Average lean tissue (North Dakota, bottom of page) Regards, – P-M