We radiotracked 23–63 adult female elk (Cervus elaphus) during 2003–2007 to determine whether condition (amount of body fat), survival of adults, or production and survival of juveniles was being impacted by habitat or other influences. Lactating females accrued relatively high levels of body fat (8.9–11.4%). Rates of survival of adult females were 0.95–1.00, rates of pregnancy were 0.87–0.96, and probability of pregnancy was most strongly related to mass, with larger females more likely to conceive. Preweaning (0.69–0.82), postweaning (0.58–0.87), and annual (0.44–0.71) rates of survival of juveniles varied among years. Excluding harvest, elk were able to achieve an annual rate of increase in size of population of 11–12%, which was limited only by survival of juveniles. Survival of juveniles was associated primarily with precipitation during gestation and parturition, indicating few constraints related to habitat.
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Vol. 56 • No. 3