The 2000 harvest was more than 6,000 animals higher than the previous record of 54,078 in 1996.
The success rate in 2000 was 24 percent, up from 17 percent the year before. In 1999, 239,109 hunters killed 39,682 elk, about two-thirds the number of elk 246,778 hunters killed in 2000.
"We need to keep high hunting pressure on antlerless animals to get down to our management objectives," said John Ellenberger, big game manager for the Division of Wildlife. "We are far enough above our objectives in some areas that it will likely take a number of years to get there."
Despite large annual harvests, the elk herd has remained above the Division's population objectives in many areas. Wildlife managers use hunting as their primary tool to maintain the health of the elk herds and the quality of their habitat. Hunting prevents damage to winter range in periods of drought or severe winters, Ellenberger said.
Elk hunters were not the only ones busy during 2000. Hunters killed 37,908 deer last year, up from 29,639 kills in 1999.
Last year, hunters enjoyed a 46 percent success rate for deer, the highest in over 20 years. The record for deer was set back in 1963 (147,848).