Q. and A. about ending winter elk feeding in NW Wyoming

Wyoming Wildlife Advocates issues report with q. and a.-

The usual winter feeding of elk on the National Elk Refuge at Jackson, Wyoming, is just starting now.  Every year they try to hold off, and once and a while it is deemed not to have been needed.

The elk get alfalfa pellets, although elk on nearby state of Wyoming winter feedgrounds often get hay. The feeding has always been controversial, and popular among many. The feeding has a growing number of critics, and quite a few residents of area do not seem to realize that feeding elk is hardly standard practice in most other nearby states.

The feeding causes the elk to concentrate in one spot. One result is usually the spread of disease between the elk. There are other problems too, and there are some benefits, both those mere perceived and those that are real.

Now the group Wyoming Wildlife Advocates has put out a Q&A style report on ending elk feeding in western Wyoming. It is downloaded and viewable on the Wyoming Wildlife Advocates’ Facebook page.



They answer frequently asked questions and concerns. They give many references. It’s a short report, easily skimmed.




, , ,



  1. skyrim Avatar

    I’m not a proponent of the feeding program, but I have enjoyed watching these animals this year on the live web cam. The are several spectacular Bulls in this huge group of Elk. Watching the different herds moving en masse across the landscape is getting me “slowly” through the season.
    Side note: I had more encounters (photo ops) with big bulls in late August than I ever remember in previous years. I had a private audience with one 6×6 for over an hour by String Lake. It was truly a gift…

  2. Gary Humbard Avatar
    Gary Humbard

    Absolutely one of the most informative arguments to end the Wyoming feeding grounds. The author(s) covered every conceivable argument for doing away with the artificial feeding of elk in Wyoming and with all due respect to Skyrim, elk should not be artificially fed just so we humans can view them.

    This is the same agency (Wyoming Fish and Game) that almost allowed the black footed ferret to go extinct (only 22 ferrets left in the US) as under their care, they were dying until the USFWS took over and of course the mismanagement of wolves and the constant persecution of grizzly bears when conflicts arise with ranchers. IMO, WF&G seems to be a agency working in the past and needs to get up to speed with the times.

  3. skyrim Avatar

    …..and I would concur Gary.

  4. mikepost Avatar

    Fed crttiers end up dead critters…habituation, CWD, you name it. It is bad policy.

    That said, I suspect that climate change, and the wierd wild weather that comes with it, will test all our resolves. Global warming could well send us some 1000 year winter storms in the basin….

    1. Ida Lupines Avatar
      Ida Lupines

      The agency has even been sued by sportsmen for creating new tactics to keep cattle and elk separate. That lawsuit was eventually settled out of court.

      ?????? I don’t understand this. How can the agency be sued for doing what is done with bison routinely? If there is a risk to cattle from elk, that should be the end of it?

  5. skyrim Avatar

    Large Canids (likely wolves) moving Elk around on the Refuge this morning 8:30 AM (Mountain Time)
    They have moved off cam to the south (right side)

  6. Nancy Avatar

    Not a real clear picture this morning Skyrim and with my cheap DSL connection (a lot of stopping & starting 🙂 Are those buffalo at the top of the view?

    1. skyrim Avatar

      Hard to tell Nancy. My view is much like your own.
      On a Blue Sky Day in bright sun I have seen Bison in the northern reaches on/near Miller Butte.
      Check out a recent video on youtube. Search elk refuge January 2015. Nice footage.

      1. Nancy Avatar

        This would be the place to be if you were a wolf 🙂


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.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan