Annual Grand Teton NP elk hunt is underway

The annual “elk reduction” hunt opened Saturday. It is in a small portion of the Park and the National Elk Refuge, and has always been very popular. It’s also controversial because it is a national park and the elk are migrating, mostly in the open, to their winter range on the Refuge.

All issues regarding winter feeding of Wyoming elk have become increasingly controversial in recent years.

Article in the Jackson Hole Daily by Angus M. Thuermer Jr.



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  1. Harry Boyd Avatar
    Harry Boyd

    thanks for your blog on the Teton
    hunt. I may do it myself.
    Harry in Calif.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Permits are sold out. I don’t think you have any chance unless you are a WY resident.

  3. Bruce Boxall Avatar
    Bruce Boxall

    How stupid

  4. Kalanu Avatar

    Not in of itself. The stupidity began long ago. Now we’re just dealing with the stupidity of our forefathers.

  5. Bob caesar Avatar
    Bob caesar

    The Park and Refuge “hunts” aren’t hunts at all. They’re murder! Not a pretty site. Not fair chase. We see it everyday around this time. Very sad! Don’t look. Shut your eyes as you ride past.

    But, there seems no there way to control Elk numbers in both places….unless…. Oh, you don’t think… wolves…? Naaaa!

    Wolves do evidently eat elk, but they don’t seem to be able to eat enought so the good ole boys still come to Jackson Hole to help ’em out. Wait along the road and shoot at 600 yards!

    I am an old hunter! Not anti at all, but this isn’t hunting. This is nothing to brag about… But, I guess we gotta control them some how?!

  6. Jeff Avatar

    The park hunt is as fair chase as one elects to make it. There are some slobs that sit along the Gros Ventre Road and the river bottom pull outs, these guys give all hunters a black eye. However there are some areas that are legitimate wild land hunts, complete with wolves and grizzly. This is especially true in area 79, north of spread creek. By the way cow/calf tags are almost always available at fish and game. I haven’t picked one up yet this year, but I haven’t ever seen them sell out in the past 10 years.

    I told the guy from CA they were probably sold out; so thanks for the info. I also believe, perhaps wrongly, that you have to live in Wyoming to get one?

    Bob Caesar has a point. There always seem to be a surplus of elk in NW Wyoming, according to WY Game and Fish. That is, until you talk about wolves. Then things seem to slip into a parallel universe where the wolves have killed all the elk!

    Ralph Maughan

  7. Bob caesar Avatar
    Bob caesar

    True – the hunt is as “fair chase” as one makes it. I apologize for charactering the few good sportsmen & women. Unfortunately, like so much hunting today, 90% don’t give a hoot and they indeed do give the 10% a very black eye. But, isn’t that always the way? Fortunately, I have a number of friends who are really good, ethical, hard working, caring hunters.

    I live in the middle of all this between the National Park & Forest. I see it every day. It is very sad indeed.

    I used to hunt a lot – all over N America as Ralph might attest. What I see so much around here today is not hunting at all. So much “Road Hunting”! There are a few old timers &/or handicapped hunters who make the best of it by hunting along the Gros Ventre Rd. They conduct themselves like regular folks and I respect them. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Park “hunters” don’t. I’ve have no experience with the “refuge hunt”. Hopefully, it is ten times better!

    The truly unfortunate thing is by the way they conduct themselves in public they are killing hunting for future generations. Things like exposing, very proudly, dead elk so the public sees them. Awhile back I was pulling through the drive up at a hamburger stand and the pickup/camper in front of me had the head of a prime, huge, bull elk strapped to the hitch ball – looking straight at me. Tong hanging out.

    It is amazing to me that hunting organizations do so little to street fair chase, good citizenship, and ethics. Too bad cause they are killing themselves by not doing so.
    The problem is all one needs to get a hunting license is $15 & a spend evening in a classroom. It shows more and more every year. We count the number of days the Park hunt has been going on by the beer cans along our road. No kidding.

  8. Jeff Avatar

    You don’t need to be a resident to get a park tag. Trophy hunters typically frown upon cow/calf tags, and despite their reduced cost, out of state tags are still quite expensive and many hunters aren’t willing to pay the high price for an antlerless elk. The reduced price tags that I’m referring to are type 6 tags. In Wyoming any type 6 tag is a reduced price, second tag available for a cow/calf in certain areas where the Game and Fish is trying to reduce the herd size. One can apply for a limited number of “any elk” tags for the park and many large park bulls are shot this way.
    On a side note, I too feel it to be quite ironic that opposing parties are championing confilicting reports about wolves and their effects on elk herds. On one hand anti-wolf folks talk about the devastaing effects on big game herds, while simultaneously the fish and game department issues numerous “second tags” for cow elk to reduce the herd size…go figure. A friend recently shot an elk in the Gros Ventre drainage on forest service land and reported seeing more elk last Saturday than any outing in the past decade.

    Thanks giving the added information about the Park/Refuge elk hunt.

    I posted the article early one morning before work relying on my memory of the hunt rules rather than looking them up. I think elk are doing well in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. Wolves do change the distribution of elk and sometimes the population size. They also affect how to hunt elk. Much bigger factors are the changing weather patterns and what humans do on land where elk roam. Disease too is becoming a much more important factor. Ralph Maughan 


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan