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Refuge to hold 3rd annual March Mania wildlife tournament

03_05_15_MarchMayhem_Article.jpgThe National Elk Refuge plans to get caught up in the spirit of the NCAA’s March Madness this month, creating a wildlife popularity poll using brackets and playoffs similar to those used for the Division 1 basketball tournament.

March 10, 2017 (NER 17-04)

The National Elk Refuge plans to get caught up in the spirit of the NCAA’s March Madness again this year, creating a wildlife popularity poll using brackets and play-offs similar to those used for the Division 1 basketball tournament. Wildlife fans of all ages can vote for their favorite animal by casting a ballot at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located at 532 N. Cache Street in Jackson, or via a virtual vote using the Refuge's Twitter address (@NalkElkRefuge). 

The tournament will kick off on March 14, with each tournament contest beginning at 9:00 am. Though voting at the Visitor Center will be limited to the building's winter hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, those using the social media method of casting their ballot will have until 11:59 pm on the same day, or an additional seven hours to indicate their choice. All times listed are Mountain Standard Time. 

Staff will provide photographs of the animal pairs near the front desk where the Visitor Center voting will take place. A large wall-sized bracket in the theater will show the current standing as the competition progresses.  “We had a lot of fun with the contest the last two years,” explained winter naturalist Kari Cieszkiewicz. “It was exciting for the staff when it came down to the final game.” Last year, the mountain lion snatched up the championship title..

A 16-team single elimination tournament bracket is posted on the Refuge’s web site. The Swell Sixteen animal match–ups and their “game days” include:

March 14:          Game 1 – common merganser vs. bobcat; Game 2 – pine marten vs. golden eagle

March 15:          Game 3 – wolverine vs. grizzly bear; Game 4 – rough-legged hawk vs. red fox

March 16:          Game 5 – weasel vs. raven; Game 6 – mountain lion vs. badger

March 17:          Game 7 – bald eagle vs. coyote; Game 8 – great blue heron vs. gray wolf 

March 18 – 21:   Extraordinary Eight playoffs

March 22 – 23:   Fabulous Four playoffs

March 24:          Championship final


Official Rules of the 2017 National Elk Refuge March Mania Wildlife Tournament

1) Participants may vote only once in each playoff game.

2) Voters may use any criteria for making their selection:  the animal they like the best, the one they think would be most likely to win in the event of an actual live confrontation, the way the animal is portrayed in the photograph displayed on “game day,” etc. The selection criteria is at the discretion of the voter.

3) Rules for casting a ballot at the Visitor Center will be outlined at the front desk; staff will be available for questions. To vote via Twitter, participants will need to read the day’s tweet, click the “reply” single arrow (which will put @NatlElkRefuge at the beginning of the message), and only type the name of the animal you are voting for as it appears in the Twitter message ; i.e. for March 14, Game 1, reply @NatlElkRefuge common merganser or @NatlElkRefuge bobcat. For ease in counting, any replies with additional text may be eliminated.

4) In the event of a tie, the winner will be determined by a coin toss by a designated Visitor Center staff member.

May the best critter win! We'll keep you updated here.


Current Standings:

Game 1 winner: bobcat 

Game 2 winner: golden eagle 

Game 3: grizzly bear

Game 4: red fox

Game 5: weasel 

Game 6: mountain lion

Game 7: bald eagle

Game 8: gray wolf

Game 9: bobcat

Game 10: grizzly bear

Game 11: mountain lion

Game 12: gray wolf

Game 13: mountain lion

Game 14: grizzly bear

For a visual overview, here's what the bracket looks like moving into the championship game on March 24.


Last Updated: Mar 24, 2017
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