JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Hunter took fewer elk in Grand Teton National Park's 2012 elk reduction program than in any of the past 50 years.

Hunters killed 183 cows and calves in the eight-week season that ended Dec. 2. That's considerably lower than the goal of 300.

The number of licenses available also was the lowest since 1960, when there was no hunt. This year 725 licenses were available.

Some point to mild weather, fewer licenses and increasingly wily elk as the reasons for the decline. For the first time, the hunt didn't include bulls.

Some criticize the hunt as dangerous and outdated.

But Grand Teton senior wildlife biologist Steve Cain tells the Associated Press that the hunt is necessary to manage the elk herd's numbers.