Biologist: Bison hurt National Elk Refuge at Jackson, WY

Doug Brimeyer, wildlife biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in Jackson, said there are “way too many” bison, and hunters can’t help thin the herd significantly.

This is from the Casper Star Tribune. Story by Whitney Royster.

There is a bison hunt every year on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, adjacent to Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge. However, few bison wander onto the forest. About 30 to 60 bison are killed in the hunt, but the Jackson Hole herd grows by about 150 each year. The size of the herd is approaching 1200.

Unlike the Yellowstone Park bison, the Jackson Hole bison herd is not limited in size by its winter range because they dine all winter on the National Elk Refuge. Also unlike the Yellowstone bison which are persecuted by the state of Montana because a small percentage are actively infected with brucellosis, almost all the bison at the National Elk Refuge are have been infected and many are infectious.

I think a bison reduction is needed in the Jackson Hole area, and preferably by hunting, not another damn helicopter gunship slaughter. If the numbers are not reduced, the bison will eventually be limited by the amount of summer range, a “solution” very damaging to the Grand Teton National Park and its other wildlife.







  1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    The most interesting thing about this demand from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department to reduce the number of bison on the National Elk Refuge is that it’s not just bison that are “too many.” There are far too many elk on the Refuge as well, as a consequence of a century of artificial feeding. Too many elk have been damaging habitat in Jackson Hole long before bison found the feedlines.

    As usual, what we get out of the Game & Fish Department is pure hypocrisy. Oh, by the way, G&F doens’t want wolves on the Refuge killing elk either.

  2. Bob Caesar Avatar
    Bob Caesar

    This current bison “hunt” in Jackson Hole is a joke! No killing in Grand Teton Natl Park – where virtually ALL cows and breading bulls live in the summer/fall.

    Killing only allowed in National Forest by specal permit – where only the big, old, past breading, solitary bulls live. Little good “control” of these old boys does, but they are the only huntable bison in Jackson Hole.

    I wonder about the concept of controled native american hunts for bison in the National Park or Elk Refuge…. I’d like to see that!

    Except Bubba would have a fit cause he wouldn’t be doing the killin’!

    I know a fellow whose 16 year old son killed a huge old bull just up from our house. Shot it just off the road. Said it “was the chance of a lifetime for that boy”. The chance of a lifetime…?


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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