Elk reduction hunt to begin Saturday in park
From Staff Reports, Jackson Hole Daily
Date: October 6, 2011
The annual Elk Reduction Program in Grand Teton National Park will begin on Saturday, officials announced.
Under its 1950 enabling legislation, Grand Teton is mandated by federal law to conduct an elk reduction program — when necessary — for the conservation of the elk population in Jackson Hole.
The legislation directs the park to develop the annual program jointly with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and for the Governor of Wyoming and Secretary of Interior to approve the plan each year.
Biologists and administrators from the Park Service and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department reviewed available biological data and concluded that the elk reduction program is necessary in 2011 to help keep the Jackson elk herd at or near objective and to facilitate maintaining a desired summer distribution of elk in the herd’s range, officials said.
The need for the park’s elk reduction program stems partly from an intensive management framework that includes annual winter feeding programs on the National Elk Refuge and in the upper Gros Ventre drainage, officials said.
Feeding sustains high numbers of elk with unnaturally low mortality rates. A majority of elk that are fed on the refuge either summer in, or use migration routes through, Grand Teton National Park. The reduction program targets elk from three primary summer herd segments: Grand Teton National Park, southern Yellowstone National Park and the Teton Wilderness.
The elk reduction program utilizes Wyoming-licensed hunters that apply for and receive limited quota permits in Wyoming hunt areas 75 and 79, which are both inside the park east of the Snake River.
A map showing specific park locations open to hunters participating in the elk reduction program is available at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose and online at www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/elkhunt.htm.
Hunters, regardless of age, are required to carry a hunter education card and to carry and have immediately accessible bear pepper spray as a non-lethal deterrent for use during potential bear encounters.
For the past three years, packets have also contained information encouraging hunters to use non-lead ammunition. In 2011, park hunters can receive free, non-lead ammunition through a program sponsored by Craighead Beringia South in Kelly in collaboration with the park, National Elk Refuge and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Park officials recommend that visitors wear hunter orange or other bright colors if away from developed areas in open hunting zones or to recreate in areas west of the Snake River that are closed to hunting