Jackson Hole Wildlife

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Jackson Hole Wildlife

2.24.14

The Jackson Hole wildlife and landscape are equally important for us and thought you'd appreciate these facts from the National Elk Refuge biologist.

snake river Moose 2012

Forwarded to you by Nature Mapping JH

"2/20/2014 National Elk Refuge Biological Update

Elk Classification Count
NER and WGFD staff counted and classified elk on refuge feed grounds on 2/19/14. There were 8,296 elk on feed and ratios per 100 cows were 24.2 mature bulls, 8.1 spike bulls, and 20.1 calves. For comparison last year we classified 6,285 elk on feed, and the 5 year moving average was 6,602. Elk classification information for native winter range and Gros Ventre feed grounds operated by WGFD is not yet available. These data from other portions of the Jackson Elk Herd will allow is to determine if the increase in the number of elk on NER compared to last year represents a population increase in the Jackson Elk Herd, a distributional shift to the refuge from other areas, or some combination of both.

Bison Classification Count
NER, WGFD and Grand Teton National Park staff counted and classified bison on NER feed grounds on 2/18/14. We counted 786 bison on feed and ratios per 100 cows were 31.2 adult bulls, 18.6 yearling bulls, and 48.1 calves. For comparison last year there were 855 total bison in the Jackson Herd of which 830 were counted on NER feed grounds. Flight based information on the number of bison wintering off feed in 2014 is not yet available, but a very high percentage of the Jackson Bison Herd is likely on NER feed grounds. As mentioned in previous updates approximately 240 bison were harvested during the 2013 hunting season. Harvest since 2007 appears to have arrested the logistic increase in bison numbers that occurred between the 1980s and 2007. Since hunting began in 2007 the bison population has declined approximately 25%, but progress in reaching the 500 bison objective has been slow. 

Pronghorn
I counted 47 pronghorn east of Miller Butte on 2/15/14. So far no mortality has been detected among the pronghorn that failed to migrate out of Jackson Hole this winter. They appear to be foraging in snow free areas that opened up during the recent thaw. However most areas on NER still have 2-10 inches of very dense crusty snow or ground ice, and pronghorn will not be able to access any significant forage in areas where snow persists."

Eric Cole
Refuge Biologist
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Elk Refuge
Jackson, WY
307.733.9212 ext. 7

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