JACKSON, Wyo. – On Sunday, March 20, the National Elk Refuge ended the supplemental elk feeding program for this 2021-2022 winter season. This action to incrementally reduce supplemental feeding reliance on the federal public land follows the Refuge’s 2019 Step-Down Plan for Bison and Elk Management (Plan).
An early end to supplemental feeding at the National Elk Refuge was set for March 20 based on several conditions as defined within the Plan, including snowmelt, snowpack, available forage, elk behavior, and coordination with Wyoming Game and Fish Department. This season’s feeding ended approximately 14 days earlier than the long-term average end date.
“We are committed to following our Step-Down Plan to reduce the reliance of elk and bison on supplemental feeding while working with our conservation partners to ensure healthy populations of these species into the future”, said Project Leader Frank Durbian.
Decreasing the supplemental feeding period may result in dispersal of elk off the Refuge, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff understand this could lead to potential wildlife conflicts with livestock producers and urban areas. If elk are observed leaving the Refuge and creating conflicts, mitigation measures will be enacted. The public and partners can contact the National Elk Refuge at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-733-9212.
There are currently an estimated 11,000 elk and 500 bison in Wyoming’s Jackson herds. Approximately 7,000-8,000 elk and 300-500 bison typically spend the winter on the nearly 25,000-acre National Elk Refuge. Learn more about the National Elk Refuge.