Moose-Wilson Road closure area

Due to two likely wolf kills along Moose-Wilson Road, a temporary area closure, in red, is now in effect.

Two dead moose, a cow and calf, alongside each other on Moose-Wilson Road have triggered a temporary closure of a route popular for cross-country skiing.

Suspected wolf kills, the carcasses are located on the unplowed section of the road that includes the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve and the Phelps Lake area. The closure covers that unpaved stretch, including a half-mile on either side of the road, between the Death Canyon Road junction and the Granite Canyon trailhead.

“We wanted to give predators and scavengers a chance to clean those up,” Grand Teton National Park spokesman Andrew White said. “We can’t say for sure, but we know that wolves have been in the area, from prints.”

Based on their home range, it’s animals from the Lower Gros Ventre wolf pack that most likely killed the moose duo. When there’s deep snow, ungulates and other animals are drawn to compacted surfaces for ease of movement, which may explain why the wolves came upon the moose on the tracked-out surface of Moose-Wilson Road.

Grand Teton research has found that wolves, at least in the northern part of the park, home in on moose in winter, when elk are drawn to feedgrounds and are largely absent from the landscape.

The temporary area closure along Moose-Wilson went into effect Tuesday.

“It probably won’t be much longer,” White said Wednesday. “It’s likely only in place for another day or two.”

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067, or @JHNGenviro.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

Recommended for you

(8) comments

Chad guenter

Moose should already be listed in the GYE as endangered.

The wolves will put them into extinction.

S.S.S. asap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jay Westemeier

I won't argue whether moose should be put on the endangered list or not, but the research findings that moose are more vulnerable due to feedgrounds is yet another black mark against the elk refuge and other feedgrounds in the area.

Chad guenter

No feedlot in Wilson. No feedlots throughout a nearly moose free Yellowstone national park. Cant say I've ever seen a moose at the feedgrounds.

More of the same, trying to bring a completely irrelevant argument against feeding the elk into a story about moose being decimted by wolves.

Jay Westemeier

You must not have read the whole article or comprehended what it said. All of the elk concentrate at the feedgrounds during the winter, which reduces the numbers available to the wolves outside the feedgrounds. So, the wolves turn to one of the remaining ungulates outside the feedlots. The wolves are not going away from the area in our lifetime, we'll always have to pay some form of tax, and Trump will be President for at least the next four years.

Chad guenter

All the elk concentrated at the feedgrounds, before it was a feedgrounds, Mr. Westemeier. It is their historic winter range along with Jackson town limits

This winter with it's record snows is exactly why the feeding program should never end.

Jay Westemeier

If that's the case Mr. Guenter, isn't it amazing that wolves didn't decimate the closely concentrated elk on your "supposed" small historic winter range back in the day when there were many more wolves and less threat from humans to keep them away from the elk? I guess "historic" to you means only after wolves were eradicated from the area. The "real" historic winter range of the Yellowstone and Jackson Hole elk herds actually included vast areas to the south. Some Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park elk made the annual journey to winter in the Red and Little Colorado deserts near Rock Springs. In one telling, documented account by the 1927 Commission on the Conservation of the Jackson Hole Elk, that mass movement eventually collected 20,000 animals. You can thank some of your fellow Wyomingites (prominent cattle ranchers) for the elk feedlot dilemma you have to deal with. Don't blame the weather and the wolf.

Chad guenter

You mention 2 things, wolves and fellow Wyomingites.

The wolves 100 years ago were not nearly the size of the planted invasives species wolves that decimate the moose and elk populations in the GYE.

Also I have said it many times, if you want to end the elk feeding remove all traces of civilization from Teton County that robs elk of winter range.

So you understand the kind of winter the wildlife face this year

Jay Westemeier

First, common sense and history tells everyone that regardless of size, wolves (when they existed) have always preyed on the elk in that area. The invasive species argument has been scientifically disproven time and time again. Second, your statement about removing all traces of civilization is an absolute admission that it is the number one factor. I don't advocate that because I know it is impossible. But, taking actions to restore and protect portions of historic winter range migration routes are not impossible. That would be the first step. The second step is to systematically retrain the elk to follow those restored routes. Yes, it would take time and the overall herd populations might be initially reduced, but the long term benefits would be worth it for all of the ungulates and predators in the area. The longer it is delayed by politics and development, the less likely it will ever happen. And lastly, I do agree that the winter Jackson Hole is experiencing definitely does not help the current landlocked elk herd. Feedlots have always been a Band-Aid approach that has only made the problem worse.

Welcome to the discussion.

Please note: Online comments may also run in our print publications.
Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Please turn off your CAPS LOCK.
No personal attacks. Discuss issues & opinions rather than denigrating someone with an opposing view.
No political attacks. Refrain from using negative slang when identifying political parties.
Be truthful. Don’t knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be proactive. Use the “Report” link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with us. We’d love to hear eyewitness accounts or history behind an article.
Use your real name: Anonymous commenting is not allowed.
The News&Guide welcomes comments from our paid subscribers. Tell us what you think. Thanks for engaging in the conversation!

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.