"Between 1912 and 1967 more than 13,500 elk were transplanted from the Park(Yellowstone Park). In February 1913, 83 elk were released in Cabin Draw near Chevelon Creek. From these transplants, the Arizona elk population has grown to nearly 35,000 animals." Quoted from the AZGFD
The Heber Herd is predominately in hunting unit 3C of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
Overview: Elk can be found throughout Unit 3C in both the pine forest and pinyon/juniper woodlands. Elevations range from 5,600 feet in Taylor to over 7,200 feet on the Mogollon Rim. Elk densities are higher south of Highway 260 than north of the highway. Generally, the highest elk density in the unit is south of Highway 260 and west of Decker Wash, but this can change, depending on precipitation patterns.
This unit has a moderate number of antlered permits available each year, and, since the Rodeo-Chediski Fire, has had high numbers of antlerless permits. The early season antlered tags in Unit 3C are highly coveted by hunters. ~AZGFD 2017
Elk are big eaters. During summers, the elk eats continuously, consuming anywhere between 8.8 to 15.43 pounds a day! That’s compared to wild horses that can stay a healthy weight on very little food. When food is readily available, adult mustangs eat around 5 to 6 pounds of food each day.
The bull elk must consume huge amounts of nutrients to gather the energy and minerals needed to grow antlers and for the energy to carry them around. The antlers of an elk can reach the size of 4 feet in length and weigh 40 pounds! The females are attracted to the bulls with the largest antlers because those are the ones that are usually the strongest...survival of the fittest.
Time to stop scapegoating the wild horses.