Maury Jones

Maury Jones

There are those who advocate the elimination of elk feedgrounds, including the National Elk Refuge. I call that ideology foolishly impractical. I challenged them to submit their plan. In response, they delivered a research paper to me, titled “What Happens When Elk Feeding Ends.”

In this treatise their main claim is that since many other places throughout the West have viable elk herds without artificial feeding, then northwest Wyoming can do the same.

That is not a valid argument or comparison for the following reasons:

1. Our harsh winters are much worse than any other elk area.

2. No area referenced has a tourist town with thousands of ski vacationers occupying the only low-elevation valley available for wintering.

My first winter in Jackson Hole, 1983-84, the temperature on Christmas Eve was 38 below zero with snow covering the fence posts. Those conditions were really hard on wildlife and livestock.

How tough was that winter? We ran out of hay and couldn’t afford to buy more, so my horses were eating pictures of hay that I cut out of old farm supply magazines. I found several pictures of grain, and old Dollar really enjoyed it, although he ate so much he ’bout foundered. On New Year’s Eve he escaped from the corral and had a wild night of drunken debauchery at the Cowboy Bar on Town Square in downtown Jackson. He enjoyed sitting on the saddle barstools and flirting with the barmaids. In fact, one of those barmaids wrote a song about it titled “Sandpaper Kisses.” He got his picture taken under the antler arch with a pretty cowgirl.

Old Dollar returned home with a gigantic hangover. But I digress. Back to my subject.

Consistent temperatures of 30 below will kill elk unless they have a full belly of nutritious vittles, which on the refuge consists of alfalfa pellets. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Jackson was minus 63 degrees and the record snowfall for a winter was 155 inches in town. That will kill a lot of elk. Wyoming winter has the potential of doing it again.

The advocates of eliminating elk feeding claim we have “1.74 million acres” of winter habitat in northwest Wyoming that can support the existing herd of elk without supplemental feed. I’m sorry, but most of that area is not suitable as winter habitat for elk. They claim “in Jackson Hole 20,000 acres are under conservation easement for protection of wildlife habitats.” Well, I happen to know a great deal about that kind of land, because that is exactly what my ranch is: a conservation easement consisting of 256 acres west of the airport.

The ranch pastures are absolutely uninhabitable for elk in the winter, with deep and drifting snow and bitter blizzard-force winds. An elk cannot survive here, but these folks think that is “available winter habitat” for elk just because it is a “conservation easement.”

Those who do not learn by the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. In the winter of 1889-90 “it was reported as many as 20,000 elk died” of winter starvation in Jackson Hole. In the winter of 1909 another huge winter-kill occurred.

“The elk invaded ranches, haystacks and the not yet incorporated town of Jackson. They roamed through the streets and residents’ yards. They died everywhere. One resident noted in the spring of 1909 that it was possible to walk at least 2 miles stepping on elk carcasses without ever putting a foot on the ground.” — “National Elk Refuge: 1912-2012,” by Shannon Sullivan.

Mind you, at that time there were few fences and few hunters between Davey Jackson’s Hole and an alleged migration route to wintering grounds on the Red Desert. I personally don’t believe the majority of elk traditionally migrated out of Jackson Hole. If they migrated, then why were there so many elk in the valley in the killer winters of 1889 and 1909? Cowboy common sense says few migrated.

After the three hard winters of 1909-1911 legislation was promulgated to set up the National Elk Refuge to keep these elk from starving to death. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department established other feedgrounds in outlying areas.

Elk habitually drift downward in the fall to the lowest elevation available. That’s where our homes and businesses are: on the valley floor. Without feedgrounds the elk will be in our yards and on our roads. Fencing is an expensive and cruel way of protecting haystacks and landscape vegetation. The elk will be right on your doorstep as you watch them starve to death, unable to save them. There is no other place for them to go.

A harsh winter in the near future is a definite possibility. Is the very real prospect of mass starvation a risk worth taking? This cowboy with a bit of common sense guarantees that we won’t like the results of meddling with a system that has worked for a hundred years to protect our iconic elk herds.

Remember, “Life is always better when viewed from between the ears of a horse.” Contact Maury Jones at

(78) comments

Sean Mulkearns

Hi Guys,

Every time I write, I am hesitant because, like I said from the beginning - I am no expert on Elk or Horses but using Common Sense makes the decisions easier than ANALYZING it to death...(pun intended)..[beam]

Sean Mulkearns

Hi Roger;

After more than 38 years in law enforcement, I have found that “Common Sense” is not so common anymore. It also does not take “Sides”. It remains the same.

You very easily brushed aside all these Incorrect Scientists and their Motives, whether is was Environmental Activism, Money, directly or indirectly through Grants given to them by other people with agendas, etc... for more than five (5) decades. I am sure you have never heard of paying someone for the “Right Opinion”. I have seen Attorney’s do that in Courts for decades. It seems to have grown to be a part of the system and there are many “Experts” whose Only concern is their Livelihood – Not the TRUTH. They will say whatever it takes to make the Money. Again that is in the Legal System. So why could it not be the same with the Environmental Activists Movement?

You Said “Sure, some scientists have made honest mistakes and revised their theories, and some have refused to admit mistakes.”

But they were the “Mainstream Scientists” touted for all these decades, just as You and Lloyd and others are Touting the current Scientists as being the ONLY ones who know what they are doing and we are all stupid (look at some of the responses) for not listening to them.

Here is some “Common Sense”: If you do not feed the Elk they will DIE.

How many Scientists will I have to hear about and how many reports will I have to read in Order for Me to Believe that the ELK WILL NOT DIE?

If I said - If you do not feed ROGER, he will die. How many Scientists will you have to Believe without questioning or how many Reports will you have to read before YOU BELIEVE ROGER WILL NOT DIE?

Maybe better questions would be - Why do you Hate the Elk and why do you want to see them die?

COMMON SENSE does not take SIDES – Highly Educated People Do!

The Man with the Cowboy Common Sense (Jonesy) has made his case which cannot be disputed. It is Called HISTORY! Jonesy has cited many Historical FACTS that PROVE that IF YOU DO NOT FEED THE ELK – They will DIE. Every time the Elk were not fed in the last 100 years – they die!

Now show me your Reports that proves the ELK DID NOT DIE, Please!

Maury Jones

Very well said, Sean. Historical evidence trumps science every time. Again, The Forest Park Feedground was established in 1979. It has resulted in the same number of elk wintering out on their own, but an increase of more than 1,000 elk in the population of the upper Greys River because of it. Sportsmen and wildllife enthusiasts like abundant elk. If Roger and Lloyd want fewer elk and want a free-ranging herd without feeding, then I suggest they move to one of those areas touted by their study as not needing supplemental feeding.

Lloyd Dorsey

Sean: I asked for the sources and documentation of the massive die offs in the late 1800's and early 1900's that prove elk cannot survive without artificial feeding. Nada. I offered extensive documentation of how elk not only persist but do well in Rocky Mountain winters decade after decade. Its there for the reading if you wish. Now, you want me to provide you with more reports to prove elk didn't die when they weren't fed during Rocky Mountain winters. I think we're back at the initial step. Just read the report archived at
Seems that's what you're asking about.
You might also want to talk to some folks in Colorado, Montana, Idaho, and the 20 counties in Wyoming where they don't feed the elk during winter and . . . . wait for it . . . . the elk don't die of starvation in significant numbers. My report sets up the context that you might find interesting; e.g., how many people in Colorado (same geographic size as Wyoming), how many cattle, how many elk compared to Wyoming. And no feeding.
Again, other than unsupported opinion, nobody's showed where the mistakes are, or clarifications needed, in the report, if any.

Sean Mulkearns

Hi Lloyd,

I thought you wised up and - Stopped! Just taking a breath I see!

Well, You are being obtuse and dishonest. Jonesy gave you the History about the winter die offs with years and statistics (since you like stats) and articles written about being able to walk for miles on Dead Elk without touching the Ground.

Jonesy also explained that the area is unlike ALL the other areas you cited because of the unusually harsh killing winters unique to this area and you cannot compare it to other areas. Did you just ignored these?

Maybe You Weren't His Posts? You are stuck in the Highly Educated Tell Me What To Think Mode from your University Days....Now you want people to give you every bit of information on a spoon.

AND You have Missed the Main Point in this Entire Discussion.

You are a Mature Man - Go Out Into the INTERNET AND FIND the information you don't want to find to show you that what you have been told all these years has been false or at least twisted/slanted to the leftist activist position. It will lift a weight off your shoulders! Deep down you know that what you have been indoctrinated into believing all these years is complete BS (Barbara Streisand) and that is why you cannot give in and admit Most of the Environmentalist Propaganda is wrong and one by one every one of their Crusades has been proven by time to be Wrong.

I am afraid you maybe hopeless my friend... A life of self-imposed ignorance is not a joyful life! And it shows in your posts.

Maury Jones

Lloyd, I gave you some of that documentation. Here it is AGAIN (for the 3rd time). It quotes newspaper articles of the day and also quotes a Congressional representative sent from Washington to investigate and make recommendations for establishing the National Elk Refuge. Yes, those elk in other Rocky Mountain locations do well year after year. I was in one of those areas, southwest Colorado, Montezuma County. My guest ranch was at 8,200 ft. elevation with a good elk herd in the San Juan Mountains, 30 miles south of Telluride. Most of the elk migrated down to 6,000 feet for the winter, south-facing slopes, lots of winter forage. In spite of that, a few elk that tried to winter out on south-facing slopes across Hwy 145 from our ranch almost all died in the winter of 1978-79. Severe winter. Those in the low country had problems, too, but those who stayed in the high country almost all died. We tried to supplemental feed them, but when they are that far gone and snow is 6 feet deep on the level, it is impossible. Jackson Hole winters are far worse than other elk locations in the Rocky Mountain west, including other places in Wyoming. That is a fact which your scientists ignore. History proves we are right.

Sean Mulkearns

Hi Jonesy,

You Wrote: "Now Al Gore warns us about a global warming (a whopping two degrees F over the next 100 years!) catastrophe and makes millions lecturing about it."

When Al Gore ran for President in 2000, he filed a public financial disclosure report that revealed that his net worth was somewhere between $700,000 and $1.9 million.

Al Gore currently has a net worth of an estimated: $173,333,081.00 That is 173 MILLION Dollars!

I retired last November from 38 years in Law Enforcement. When I wanted to Catch the CROOKS I followed the Money!

People say Why Would Anyone Travel Around the World and Preach this type of False Information...Look above there are 173 MILLION Reasons!

Maury Jones

And that is precisely why we can't trust some "scientists". Because they have a financial stake in promoting global warming. As far as "climate change", the climate has been changing since this molten rock called Earth began to cool millions of years ago. It cools off, then it gets warm, in spite of what man can do.

Sean Mulkearns

No Sir, I disagree Roger...I just posted the following information below the line on Jonesy's Newest Column.

It took 10 years before what the Scientists Claimed was TRUE to be shown a Huge Lie! The difference between 400 Million and 3 TRILLION is a helk of a lot! How Could Anyone - Especially Educated Men - have a Count that was So Far Off - Unless it was On Purpose?!

Just because nobody has challenged the report of Lloyd's does not mean it is Correct! I will bet if we wait for a few years - It will be debunked - Just like Global Warming...and if you remember before that was a Coming Global Ice Age! Then it was ALL the Earth's Seas & Oceans are all dying! Never happened...

The Only thing that is Pretty Telling is that there are STILL American's and by your estimate - Millions - that are so Gullible that they see the constant False Prophecies of the "Gang Green" crowd and Still believe ANYTHING they put forth.
(My Other Posting is Directly Below the line)

Hi Guys,

Just saw this article, see link..

It says the Scientists Under-Counted the number of Trees on the Earth by 2.6 TRILLION! But immediately assures us that the Animals these same Scientists Claim are Going Extinct - ARE REALLY GOING EXTINCT!

The last Tree Estimate from 2005 claims there were 400 Million Trees...NOW they figure there are more that 3 TRILLION TREES!

The article also says that the Earth is ONLY 3 Percent Urbanized...and that these (Going) EXTINCT animals could also be in that 97 Percent...WE DON'T KNOW!

The article lists a bunch of animals that these Scientist claimed were extinct but they were seen again only a few years later.

Imagine that! We have been lied to for so long People want to Reduce the Human Population by a FEW BILLION....Right Bill and Bob?

Another person with statistics and estimates that are all wrong! But they fit the Left Wing Agenda...

Roger Hayden

Sean, I don't have time to read everything every conspiracy theorist tells me I should read because it challenges settled, mainstream thinking. Sure, scientists make mistakes, and a few are even dishonest, but that doesn't mean they're all engaged in some crazy, lefty conspiracy. Pretty hard to imagine that thousands and thousands of scientists worldwide would be engaged in a massive conspiracy on climate change, for example. How do you organize something like that and why would so many participate? Mass hypnosis?
Again, if Lloyd is wrong, as you say, tell us where, and, please support what you say with something solid — not just conjecture or some blog post by someone with no recognized credentials. Is there some reason why you wouldn't do that?
So far, the only source you've cited in your comments here is Bill O'Reilly of Fox. Did you know that Bill is not a journalist who reports all sides of a story? He is paid to have an opinion and make folks like you angry. He's effective, and certainly entertaining.

Sean Mulkearns

Hi Roger,

Nobody is asking to to read everything - Just question the Stuff you do read.

Scientists are Activists and have made up "Facts" for Decades to fit their agenda ...see Coming Ice Age, from the 1970's & All the Oceans Dying, etc.. What would it take for you to Think instead of Parroting - I believe that you are a College and maybe Farther Highly Educated person. That is not a Put-Down, it is a symptom of someone who sees a PhD or another set of letters after someone's name and Believes whatever they say instantly.

Mainstream thinking at one time believed that the Earth was Flat and the Earth was the Center of the Universe and the Sun revolved around it! Mainstream think changes and yes, everyone can be wrong! Even me...LOL

Now, take some of your own advise and Please List all these "Thousand and Thousands" of Scientists ? You cannot. You are repeating the "Talking Points" of the side of the argument that you lean towards. Because there is another list of Scientists that Do Not Believe the Naysayers.

You easily denigrate the sources you do not seem to like! There will never be enough to convince you because your mind is made up and it doesn't matter to you that you could be wrong. You don't seem to verify Your Source - Do You?

I believe that if Jesus Christ came down from the Cross and said the Scientists are wrong - You would Not believe him because he did not go to an Advanced University! And you would ask Him for his Sources as well!

Thanks for listening...SeanM..

Maury Jones

One big reason I don't believe scientists' man-made global warming theory is that in the early 70s when I was at ASU majoring in Game and Fish Management, the big scare was The Coming Ice Age. At that time they were warning that our pollution was shading the planet and we would all freeze to death. Such as this one; Now that same pollution is going to fry the planet. Mind you, in the 70s those were the best scientists, the brightest minds. They made a ton of money going around lecturing about the coming ice age because of man's pollution. Now Al Gore warns us about a global warming (a whopping two degrees F over the next 100 years!) catastrophe and makes millions lecturing about it. But there are some top scientists today who believe the earth is cooling; "Scientists Predict Coming Ice Age" Forgive us if we don't believe everything a "scientist" tells us. Cowboy common sense says if Jackson Hole has a severe winter, thousands of elk will die without supplemental feed.

Roger Hayden

Sean, if you don't trust the expert scientists who have studied a certain subject for years, who do you you trust? Somebody with "cowboy common sense" who can't substantiate many of his claims?
Sure, some scientists have made honest mistakes and revised their theories, and some have refused to admit mistakes. It appears that what you are saying is, because of that, you can't trust ANY scientist. Or do you just not trust those whose findings don't fit your beliefs?

Maury Jones

Roger, the reason we don't trust "expert scientists" is that their conclusions go against recorded history wherein thousands of elk died without feeding. And those expert scientists acknowledge that their plan, phasing out feeding of elk, will result in a 60% decrease in the numbers of elk even without any winter kill factored in. We find that unacceptable.

Maury Jones

One more thing, Lloyd. Facts are the basis of science. Facts trump conjecture. Biologists believe (postulate, theorize, assume, conjecture, educated guess) that our elk will do fine without supplemental feeding. The facts are that most of the elk died in four winters within 22 years prior to feeding. So, every five or six years, on average, we will lose a majority of the elk herd without supplemental feeding. 1889 was a killer winter, losing "20,000 elk to starvation". Then it took 20 years before the next killer winter, but there were three winters in a row which devastated the elk herd. That will happen again. We have gone without a significant winter kill for more than 100 years. I'll stick with history and the facts.

Lloyd Dorsey

I'd be interested in the documentation of the effects to elk in those winters you allude to. Who counted or estimated the 20,000 dead elk in 1889? Where? After these alleged die offs were the elk numbers correspondingly low in subsequent years? Can you send me your sources? Thanks.

Sean Mulkearns

Please, give it up Lloyd. The only thing worse than someone who cannot admit he is wrong - Is someone who cannot admit he is wrong AND WON'T STOP!

Roger Hayden

Sean, if you think Lloyd is wrong, go to the document he's mentioned here several times. It's full of well-researched and documented facts. Specifically where is he wrong in that document stuffed with all of what has been discussed here? Lloyd has repeatedly challenged everyone here to point to any mistakes; nobody has. Pretty telling.

Maury Jones

Lloyd, there were newspaper articles at the time, documenting the huge winter kills. You get paid by the Sierra Club to fight this battle and push this agenda. I do this on my own time. I have a lot of work to do so I don't have time to pick your report apart paragraph by paragraph and find all documentation of winter kill prior to the feedgrounds being set up about 1912+. The fact remains that Jackson Hole has the most severe winters of any place that has a large number of elk. It cannot be compared to many places around the west and their elk herds. That is a fact. And as a result of that fact, devastating winters destroyed most of Jackson Hole's elk prior to the establishment of feedgrounds. That is why feedgrounds were established. Thank God environmentalism and hadn't been discovered yet, or we wouldn't have our iconic elk herd. Without feedgrounds, you, yourself, admitted in a public meeting in Jackson at St. Johns, that the elk herd would likely decline by 60%. I, for one, do NOT want that to happen.

Sean Mulkearns

Lloyd, what you do not seem to be able to read and understand is that We do not believe the "science" when we keep seeing the phoney "science" telling us that the sky is falling. Or there is Global Cooling! Before it was Global Warming! It is known as Junk you see our point?

I remember in the 1970s that many people were in the Media having meltdowns testifying in front of Congress claiming that if we did not stop fishing in the oceans, they would all be DEAD and VOID of ALL Fish by the year 2000! Thus the Human Race would be doomed to stave to death within a few years thereafter.

And that we were increasing the Planet's Temperature and the Human Race would be Extinct by 2050 because the crops would not be able to grow in the dessert temperature WE WERE CAUSING!

None of that has happened....and as for Public Opinion wanting change...I would first ask how the questions were asked and second advise you to watch "Watter's World" on the Bill O'Reilly show. He asks questions of allegedly Intelligence People and they do not have a Clue!

There was a man asking People to sign a Petition to Void the Constitution because it was an old racist document and there were dozens who signed it!

Need I say more...


Maury Jones

Well said, Sean.

Maury Jones

Lloyd, would you admit that a 100 year study and experiment trumps any "expert" opinion on feeding elk? More than 100 years ago we started feeding elk, replacing forage that our homes and farms and town took from the elk. That 100 year study has proved conclusively that WITH elk feedgrounds we have a stable elk population (with the exception of where wolves are making an impact). Your THEORY that elk can survive without feedgrounds is a VERY dangerous unproven experiment, putting our whole elk herd in jeopardy. Our 100 year study is conclusive.

Lloyd Dorsey

Because a management program has been around for 100-plus years that makes it immune from being changed? Hardly. Nor does longevity of a program require that it be abandoned or changed. But since elk management in western Wyoming involves public policy and publicly owned values it does require scrutiny, ublic engagement and review, and the application of modern wildlife management principals, science, and methods. And law. The Amendments to our U.S. Constitution are examples that we don't necessarily get everything entirely correct the first go'round.

It might be a bummer for some that 340 million Americans co-own the National Elk Refuge, Grand Teton Park, and the Bridger-Teton National Forest but that's reality. Management of those jurisdictions and beyond isn't to serve parochial special interests, denying science, and managing as if it's the early 1900's. Conditions have changed, science and law have evolved, alternative elk management programs have been successfully developed throughout the Rockies, and we have a good idea nowadays what exists and what's coming in the way of diseases. Brucellosis and hoof rot may pale in comparison to CWD.

I realize more than ever that some will not accept change or science. I often wonder if that applies to when they or their loved ones go to a medical professional for assistance. Do they demand of the doctor no contemporary science, please; just treat me with the methods and medicines as if it was 1912. Before antibiotics, cat scans, pain palliatives, etc.. I wouldn't think so. But it's the same science. Biology. We'd be foolish not to apply what we've learned over the generations to managing our cherished natural resources just as we'd be foolish not to avail ourselves of contemporary human medical practices.

FYI, when there's been opportunity for public comment on ending winter feeding of elk on the Refuge or state elk feedgrounds, the public comments have been overwhelmingly in favor of ending feeding. For the 2007 Elk Refuge EIS, 65% in favor of Alt 6, ending feeding within 5 years. For the 2013 Alkali Creek Feedground DEIS it was around 90% of the public comments favored ending artificial feeding.
Most indications are that, sooner or later, change is coming. As rancher Brad Mead says in the film, "Feeding The Problem," change might not be easy, but it will be better to change now than when CWD gets here. We have choices now.

Maury Jones

CWD is the false boogie-man that you use to raise fear in people to have them adopt your agenda of eliminating feeding. They hear a continual drumbeat from you anti-feeders and that is all they know. Did you honestly inform them that CWD in the Laramie Elk Herd is only 3-7%, in spite of the fact that they crowd together in dense herds in the winter? If you honestly informed them that eliminating feeding of elk in Jackson Hole will reduce our elk numbers by 60%, it is highly likely they would fill out the survey the other way; 65% for feeding. In comparing northwest Wyoming elk to other areas in the west, you were not honest with them in revealing that our winters are much more harsh than those other areas, both in depth of snow and bitter cold temperatures. That omission is pseudoscience, not science. Sound game management is the elk feeding we have practiced for 100 years. It works. Prior to feeding there were four devastating winters within 22 years, 1889, 1909, 1910, 1911. That is proof that your proposal is fatally flawed. And the fatalities will be our elk herd. Lloyd, how do you explain there being an additional 1,000 elk in the herd in the Forest Park area in upper Greys River? It is that feedground being established in 1979, pure and simple, which explains the increase. No, the evidence of past history is on our side. All you have are alleged game "biologists", such as Bruce Smith, giving his 'educated' opinion. Bruce is the one who was in charge of feeding elk on the Refuge and, on his watch, in one winter more than 100 yearling elk died of malnutrition. Dead yearling elk were taken from the Refuge and a veterinarian determined they died of starvation. So much for Bruce Smith's credentials. We are not impressed with you trotting out 'scientists' to 'prove' your theory. We are impressed with past history, which proves that feeding works to preserve elk and lack of feeding is a huge disaster waiting for a severe winter.

Sean Mulkearns

You have Hit he Nail Directly on the (Politically Incorrect) Head! Having been lied to for so long Not only are the people in Wyoming Mad but the entire country is "Mad as Helk".

That's is why Donald Trump is doing so well in the Polls and Looks like a winning Presidential Candidate.

Bottom Line: We Don't Believe You and Your Statistics anymore! We have seen Our Country and Our Wildlife Suffer too much...

Valerie Music

Both parties have neglected the will of the people. Don't trust them or the Washington elites and their "statts." They have all been bought and sold by special interest groups. Donald Trump, go boy!!

Maury Jones

Roger Hayden, the Rocky Mountain wolf was half the size of these non-native Canadian Timber wolves. The native RM wolf hunted in pairs. The CT wolves hunt in packs as large as 37. Our wildlife, especially moose, cannot deal with them. There was a reason our pioneer ancestors eliminated the wolf from Wyoming. The wolves are not compatible with livestock and wildlife interests.
Having said that, if the original wolf was introduced, AND the same criteria was used--100 wolves being a 'recovered' population, AND the criteria was followed instead of just a GIANT LIE to get the non-native wolf in the door, then there would not be so much opposition to this wolf.
The facts are, they introduced a non-native specie. That violates the Endangered Species Act. The Environmental Impact Statement for introduction was fatally flawed in that it said there would be "no impact" on native moose populations. Moose are now almost extinct in Yellowstone. They introduced the wolf anyway with the mandate that when there were 100 wolves they would be delisted and the state would take over and keep them at 100 wolves. They/you then proceeded to ignore the law and the ESA regarding introduction and the EIS which examined the impact 100 wolves would have on wildlife. When the 100 wolf threshold was passed, in year 2000, wolf-worshippers sued to keep them from being delisted. We now have 400 wolves with a corresponding 4 times the impact on our wildlife. The whole way this introduction and 'back to nature' scheme has been handled has been a lie from the beginning. Your side should be utterly ashamed of yourselves. But no, you trot out this expert and that expert, as if what they say can make up for the huge lie used to foist this wildlife disaster upon us. Why don't you admit the obvious lie wherein you said that we would only have 100 wolves and they would have 'no impact' on our moose and a very minor impact on our elk herds and other wildlife? We are understandably angry at having been lied to repeatedly. Now you want us to eliminate elk feedgrounds, promising us that it will not destroy our iconic Jackson Hole Elk herd. Frankly, based on the past lies about introducing wolves, we don't believe you.

Roger Hayden

First of all, Maury, you have a long history or outfitting and ranching, so your "cowboy common sense" column really should be called "outfitter/rancher common sense." If you cal it that, readers will be suspicious of hat you say.
Second, that "non-native" wolf conspiracy theory was debunked more than once long ago. But if you think you need to continue repeat a lie, go right ahead. Let's see some credible proof. Doesn't exist.
Third, feeding will be phased out, and we don't need your permission.
Fourth, we (advocates and millions of Americans) don't need you to believe us. We don't expect entrenched, vested interests to accept scientific facts.

Maury Jones

So an outfitter or rancher isn't a cowboy? That non-native wolf theory was 'debunked' by the pseudo-biologists who had an agenda. For Ed Bangs to say on the witness stand, "It doesn't matter what sub-specie of wolf; a wolf is a wolf is a wolf." totally discredits him as an unbiased biologist. He had an agenda to introduce a wolf, any wolf, into Yellowstone ecosystem. The Canadian wolf was the easiest to acquire for transplant. If feeding is phased out without our permission and we have a killer winter which destroys most of our elk herd, you guys will have a lot to answer for. And historical fact is that most of the elk in northwest Wyoming died in killer winters prior to feedgrounds. It is also historical fact that most of the wintering-out elk, not on feedgrounds, die in a severe winter because they can't make it to feedgrounds. 'Scientists' can hypothesize all they want, but that doesn't trump historical fact. Don't you feel you owe the elk anything for building our homes and ranches and town on elk winter range?

Roger Hayden

Outfitters and ranchers are cowboys, there are a lot of good ones, and I'm assuming you're among them. I just think full disclosure is important so that readers understand that your outlook on feed grounds is from an "industry" perspective.
Just a couple more points.
1. If thousands of elk died during several severe winters prior to feed grounds, they obviously were here in abundance and chose to stay in a place in which you claim they can't survive without feed.
2. A wolf is a wolf, and you wouldn't tolerate any. So, why continue to mislead about this imaginary subspecies? Doug Smith, the top Yellowstone wolf biologist discussed this false subspecies theory in a good article last year. I'd take the time to find it and send it to you, but you would simply claim Doug Smith is just part of this mass conspiracy and has some kind of vested interests. Why would you continue to waste your time attacking the wolf, since the animal is not devastating the Wyoming elk population? In fact, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department last week once again stated that the herd was over objective and that hunters have had fabulous success during the last several years. Would you claim WGFD biologists also are not to be trusted?

Maury Jones

Roger, first I have never been a cattle rancher nor have I worked for a cattle rancher. Some of them are good friends of mine. I haven't been an outfitter for 9 years. The elk in Area 78, where the 256 acre conservation easement is that I live on and manage, are over population objective and are a headache to me. So fewer elk would personally be to my benefit. BUT, I believe in Jackson Hole's legacy of an abundance of elk. It is what our area is famous for and we managed just fine for a hundred years. In reply to your item #1; natures "natural" way, which you champion, is for an elk herd to build up to a high level and then get killed by winter, disease, and predators. Then the herd takes many years to build back up. That was a "natural" winter kill in 1889. By 1909 the herd had built back up and another killer winter whacked them. That was followed by 1910 and 1911 winters which almost finished off the elk herd. It was so bad that locals and Wyoming government and US Congress investigated and decided that they must begin feeding elk in order to stabilize the herd. That is historical fact. That worked for a hundred years. Then you crammed the wolf down our throats and then you guys started beating the drum for eliminating feedgrounds 'because it is not natural'. Is your real agenda to eliminate hunting in northwest Wyoming? You eliminated moose hunting in areas frequented by wolves north of Jackson, and also eliminated so many moose in the process that it is a real rarity to see one in Yellowstone or in the Teton Wilderness. If you succeed in "phasing out feeding of elk", their population will drop by about 60%, according to Lloyd Dorsey at a public meeting at St. Johns. Then what will the wolves eat? About your item #2; Doug Smith starved calf elk to death on the National Elk Refuge when he was in charge. That is a historical fact. That alone destroyed his credibility as a wildlife "scientist". The elk herd in the state, overall, is above objective. The elk herd in Area 78 north of Jackson is above objective because there are almost no wolves here. According to the G&F biologists, the elk herd in areas where wolves are prevalent, such as the Gros Ventre and the Teton Wilderness, are in a "predator pit", meaning they cannot produce as many calves as the wolves and grizzlies eat. Those are scientists saying that, Roger. If you really believed in going back to the 'natural' way of things, you would tear down your house, plant native vegetation on the site, and leave Jackson Hole. That is the only way to return to 'natural'. And "natural" wasn't all it was cracked up to be, as witness the huge elk winter kills in Jackson Hole in 1889 and 1909-10-11. But that is history and you don't believe in that. You, rather, believe in "scientists", except for our local Game and Fish scientists who manage our elk herd.

Sean Mulkearns

WOW, So many Good Comments that it dwarfs the Statistical Noise from Lloyd...
News Flash....Lloyd...Elk cannot read but they need to EAT!

Lets keep feeding the Elk, so the Elk Remain Healthy and Abundant....

Lloyd Dorsey

Wow, so many red herrings I've lost track. If anyone cares to discuss the merits of ending artificial feeding of elk in western Wyoming, you can go to the www.wyomingwildlifeadvocates website, Resources, Elk Feeding Issues, Detailed Q&A on elk feeding and migrations and read the actual report and see the references. No one's come up with any corrections based on anything empirical or actual data. That probably indicates that the information in the report is accurate and on track.
You might also read the 2012 book, "Where Elk Roam" by Bruce Smith, Ph.D., and become better informed on the Jackson Hole elk herd.
As always, if anyone has corrections to the report or more information pertinent to this issue, I'm interested in seeing and reading it. My contact info is or 307-690-1967. Thanks.


Maury, I have followed you for years and years and highly respect your values & opinions. I don't live out in that beautiful country but have visited, now I just need to figure out when to get out there and hunt with you! But lets get back to the feeding..
I know whitetails not Elk but last I looked they were related. We go back and forth about feeding all the time is it good or not. Rick Crawford (no relation but obviously he can' be wrong) feels exactly as many outdoor people do especially hunters that there are groups who believe interaction of humans with wildlife is a no-no. All the endangered animals that have been saved because of this exact reason is clearly the evidence.... I would like to exclude the wolf from this discussion, let Maury tell you why.I have seen starvation of whitetails because they physically can't move thru the deep snow. Sad is not the word. Maine has deer yards that whitetails travel to year after year and without these "yards" the population would be null. I completely believe we are here for several reasons and one is to use the talent/resources we posses to provide for those who can't. Environmentalist are just not happy with any interaction made by anyone who is not in there group period. Maybe the farmers should not allow the environmentalist to feed on their products ? Did I just say that ...hmm something to ponder .Working together is how a good balance is achieved. Hunters, non hunters, environmentalist whomever just step up to the plate present your talent and let it melt with all the talent and we will be successful. Now if we can delete political parties and just be US Citizens life would be really good![beam]

Maury Jones

I loved your last line, about deleting political parties and just be Americans. A true statesman would insist he not be labeled "D" or "R" but be labeled "A" for American (and not the "American" Party). And, sorry to say, I have not guided or outfitted hunters since 2007.

Roger Hayden

Kevin, I would totally agree that party labels, or liberal vs. conservative tends to prevent good, constructive conversation. Ironically, in your comment here, you want to paint anybody advocating to phase out feeding as one of them "environmentalists." I know a lot of folks who are hunting fanatics AND environmentalists, but who also don't like the idea of phasing out feeding. Not as black and white as you seem to think. That's here in Jackson Hole. So, your general assumptions are wrong. And, by the way, Maine is not Wyoming.

Rose Carr

We need to continue feeding the elk. I love your articles! Informative and intresting. I look forward to them.

Maury Jones

thanks for loving my columns.

Rick Crawford

The real issue with the Environmentalists is they want wildlife managed without hunting/humans involvement in a natural setting. It sounds good and romantic to them. They do not believe in God or that man has been put here as natures care taker....and yet their very actions are setting them up as caretakers of creating an artificial system of management that has not existed for at least 16,000 years that man has existed on earth as hunters and gathers. In other words the so-called environmental view is a pre man view they want to take while sitting in the best homes on winter range using their smart phones, computers and transportation. If you really take a look at what they are advocating, it is not management, it is Agenda 21, ie The New World Order where man lives in controlled cities and wildlife is left to manage itself, while we are managed by our Elitist care takers. No thanks, I will stay home on the range, keep hunting and raising a garden and help manage , promote wildlife every chance I get.

Maury Jones

Very well said, Crawford.

Valerie Music

Agenda 21 at it's finest. Stack and pack housing and shoving humans into "density" zones, but let's not push the wildlife into density for fear of disease.
This is up side down. Agenda 21 kicks us back into the Lewis and Clark era not going "forward" as they claim, into the 21st century.
This is a global agenda that has no business in the United States of America! We are a free people.

bob culver

Mr. Crawford,

Your discussion has several points I agree are right on target (no pun intended) When you say, " They do not believe in God or that man has been put here as natures care taker..." it reminds me that I remember something about that. "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." Even if you do not want to take that as the word of a Deity you can take it as a fact of history, Man has dominion over the earth for good reason, whether it is because of the opposable thumb or something else, I think he can say, "I did not fight my way to the top of the food chain to eat tofu".

Regarding man as a hunter/gatherer, occasionally he is the hunted and the gathered, but that as they say is another story.


Roger Hayden

Agenda 21? New world order? Thanks to those who mentioned these conspiracy theories. We can now take any future comments you might make with a huge grain of salt.

Chad guenter

Mr. Hayden. Agenda 21 is not a conspiracy theory. It is a conspiracy FACT. See for yourself at the UN's own site.

Valerie Music

Do your homework. Educate yourself Roger. Todd Wilkenson called fact checkers right wing radical. He is not telling the truth. He hails from Montana and knows this horrific agenda is fact. Look who he partners with and who the liberal media covers for. All western states are under attack. They are using the wildlife to tug at heart strings.

Rick Crawford

We do not have the option in todays world of not helping and managing our wildlife. Environmentalists may be well-meaning in their hands off approach but do not think logically. While their large cabin sits smack dab on the best winter range and eliminates habitat that elk once used, they advocate letting the elk and deer fend for themselves. When you look around at todays human civilizations you will find that we occupy the very best areas of all wildlife habitat. We locate ourselves close to water, mild winter conditions, scenic views, and ease of transportation. These corridors inevitably were once the very areas migrating or traveling animals once used. Our towns usually sit on the most critical winter range and eliminate forage and water that wildlife once had available. With the artificial reinsertion of Canadian Timber Wolves onto the scene we further limit and stress wildlife herds. It does not make sense to put more stress with predators on the one hand and then add more stress by forcing elk to manage for themselves while we sit in our houses and cabins on their destroyed wintering grounds.

Maury Jones

You hit the nail right on the head with what I am trying to express in my column; we took the elk's winter range. Therefore we need to provide for them. Simple.

Valerie Music

Good points Rick! The enviro's are destroying our wildlife and our very way of life. They could care less about our wildlife. It is all about control.

Chad guenter

"" With the artificial reinsertion of Canadian Timber Wolves onto the scene ""
No truer words have been said!

The WOLVES are not "native" and were not "reintroduced". The environmentalists that continue to perpetuate those lies would also say that a Northern Saskatchewan whitetail and a Texas whitetail are also "the same".

Agenda 21 and it's willing promoters want humans enclosed/fenced in. Having little to no wild game to feed families in rural areas will make that task much easier. Wolves are not the only predators out of control and in desperate need of strict "management", but Grizzlies as well.

Most modern day environmentalists will openly admit that they believe Human Beings to be the greatest threat to "nature" and the planet. Some goes as far as saying they wish we didn't exist. It is a extremist RELIGION, a cult, where opposing views are never tolerated let alone considered.

Maury Jones

I was in conversation this morning with some who are in the forefront of advocating phasing out elk feedgrounds, including Lloyd Dorsey. I asked them, "If you prevail and elk feeding ends, won't you be a bit nervous about a killer winter devastating half of the elk herd? There is the potential for people tarring and feathering you and riding you out of town on a rail." They said they had thought about it, but decided that emergency elk feeding would take care of the problem. I observed, and this is correct, that by the time it is obvious that elk are starving, feeding them alfalfa hay will kill them. They don't have the proper enzymes to digest the hay. That is something the general public needs to know. If you feed alfalfa hay to healthy elk, they develop the ability to digest it. A starving elk will die from eating alfalfa hay.

Lloyd Dorsey

Maury, you're correct that emergency feeding is fraught with challenges. It's seldom, if ever, effective. I don't recommend it with few if any exceptions. While many states have such a program, it doesn't save wildlife. Idaho has an emergency feeding program for elk and deer that, if used something like 3 of 5 consecutive years, that triggers a review of the herd objectives on the grounds that using emergency feeding signals that the herds are beyond the natural carrying capacity of the winter range. While I'm not a fan of emergency feeding, I like that logic.

As for being "tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail," I assume that's meant as being verbally disparaged and not a threat of physical assault. Since folks like Olaus Murie, the Craighead brothers, Bruce Smith, the Wildlife Management Institute, and most other wildlife managers recommended ending winter feeding of elk before we did, we're on solid ground. The facts are the facts. While folks are entitled to their own opinions, they're not entitled to made up nonsense to coerce public policy regarding the public's wildlife.

Significant change in policies, like accepting wildfire as ecologically healthy, not feeding bears in Yellowstone, that predators are healthy for an ecosystem, burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming, etc., are difficult during transition from one paradigm to the new one. Stick to the facts and, if needed, debate. That's better than tar, feathers, and rails.

Maury Jones

Of course the tar and feathers comment was suggesting verbal condemnation if our elk herd starves to death in a harsh winter. Never physical threat.

Sean Mulkearns


I did not misspell Mark Twain's Quote but I could not post it because I was informed it contained Profanity!

Sean Mulkearns

After reading ALL the rebuttals, all I can say is that there are: “Lies, Dam* Lies and Statistics”!

I would rather err on the side of saving the Elk Herd than Gambling on Someone’s Statistical Guess and be wrong and have the entire Herd of Elk decimated!

It may take years for them to recover by themselves but when/if you figure the Wolves and other predators into the equation I can see the Elk Herd become Extinct!

I do not want to see that and I honestly do not believe that anyone else does either.
If the Elk herd grows too large, then transplant some to eastern states that are attempting to regenerate the Elk Population and/or have an extended Elk Hunt. Both would bring major money into the area which would benefit the Elk Herd and the local economy and pay for any expense to feed the herd.

Sounds like a Win – Win -- Win Situation!

I don’t know if that is classified as “Cowboy Sense” but it makes sense to me…

Valerie Music

Makes "Cowboy Common Sense" to me! Would think if Lloyd Dorsey spent so much time in the wild he would have been the first to spot the danger in introducing the Canidian wolf to ranchers or wildlife. It's not rocket science.

Lloyd Dorsey

Same wolf. There's no biogeographical barrier that would have separated wolves there from wolves here. Same coyote, elk, mule deer, pronghorn, black bear, cougar, grizzly, bighorn sheep, etc. etc.. Would have to have long time (millenia) geographic separation of species to develop subspecies.

As for alleged wolf impacts to moose in the GYE, see Ally Courtemanch's (WGFD) report on Jackson Hole moose. She can be reached at 307-733-2321. Interesting stuff.

Maury Jones

Not the same wolf. Canis Lupus Irremotus, Rocky Mountain Wolf, was the original. These are Canadian wolves, Canis Lupus Canadensis which have the same DNA as Canis Lupus Lycaon or the Eastern Timber Wolf. data from Wolf introduction Supervisor Ed Bangs testified on the stand, when sued by the Farm Bureau, that "A wolf is a wolf is a wolf. It doesn't matter the sub-species." That is the stupidest statement I've ever heard from an alleged game biologist. That is like saying "A deer is a deer is a deer. It doesn't matter if it is an eastern whitetail, a Florida Key deer, an Arizona Coues whitetail, a desert mule deer, a Rocky Mountain mule deer, a Columbia Blacktail, a Sitka Blacktail, etc." Anything to fit an agenda.

Roger Hayden

I disagree with you, Maury, since Ph.D wolf experts like Doug Smith dismiss your claims. Many others with respectable credentials do as well. If the reintroduced wolf was the "Rocky Mountain" wolf you mention, would you be okay with that? Of course not. So, why waste your time trotting out that myth time after time?

Maury Jones

You are jousting at windmills. CWD is your boogie-man with the fed elk, and it hasn't happened yet and may never happen. If it does happen, then the infection rate will be low. The Chief Game Warden for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Brian Nesvik, reported to me personally that a maximum of 7% of the Laramie Elk Herd has CWD. Most years only 4 or 5% and as little as 3%. Not the 45% you reported.
You cited "abundant predators" needed "to keep deer and elk herds healthy. Tell that to the Northern Yellowstone Elk herd which has declined from 19,000 elk in 1994, the year wolves were introduced, to less than 3,000 elk, according to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Also tell that to the moose population, which is almost extinct in Yellowstone. Lots of moose in 1994; almost none in 2015. When I argue that fact to a wolf-worshipper, they say it is only coincidence that the moose decline happened in conjunction with introduction of this non-native wolf.
I helped feed elk on the Camp Creek Feedground south of Jackson one morning. We hauled off two elk killed by wolves during the night. The feeder reported to me that they had hauled off as many as 11 wolf-killed elk in one morning. There was an extremely skinny elk there. I asked about her and they said she had a broken leg, upper leg. I asked why the wolves didn't kill her. They said the wolves won't touch her. Why not? Who knows? But so much for the lie that the wolves kill the sick and injured and thus keep the herd healthy.
And finally, as I said in my column, no other place in the Rocky Mountain West has winters as harsh as northwest Wyoming. Therefore, because other places can have a viable elk herd without feeding is not proof that we can. In contrast, before feeding we had at least four winters, 1889, 1909, 1910, and 1911, which devastated our herds. There has been no massive winter kill since feeding began in 1912.
One more documented proof. The Forest Park Elk Feedground in the upper Greys River was established in 1979. Prior to that there was a wintering herd of between 200 and 400 elk. Winter would knock it down to a couple hundred elk, and then it would take several years for the population to build back up. Then another winter would knock it down again. After the Forest Park Feedground was established, the population of elk built up to where there were the same 100-400 elk wintering out, but a thousand elk on the feedground. It is now fine hunting up there, whereas before it was very limited. This is a quote from a Wyoming Game and Fish Department report; "In most situations, the only realistic alternative to feeding elk in the winter is a drastic reduction in the number of elk." Lloyd, that is EXACTLY what your group is advocating by pushing to phase out feedgrounds. I, for one, don't like the results of that "realistic alternative" to feeding elk.

Lloyd Dorsey

Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but I have no reason to doubt the metrics given in these agency reports.

In the 2013 Casper Mule Deer Job Completion Report, Appendix A, p. 127, Table 1: CWD in South Converse mule deer herd has been 40-57% in the years 2006 to 2013. From 2001 to 2013 the mule deer population has gone from 15,000 mule deer to 4,400. Figure 1, p. 127. The population is effectively crashing. Look for Melia Divivo's Ph.D. dissertation on this herd soon.

The elk in that region have been detected with CWD. In the 2013 Casper Elk JCR, for the Laramie Peak/Muddy Mtn elk herd, "Chronic Wasting Disease is present in this herd at low prevalence (8% in 2012 hunter harvested elk)." p. 21

Using WGFD information, the Teton Research Institute calculated that the CWD Endemic Zone in Wyoming is increasing in size by 1.8 million acres each year. That map and the sources are on the Wyoming Wildlife Advocates' website.

I'm not aware in the literature or first hand that there is an elk herd near Laramie, Wyoming, that spends the winter standing or lying down on the same plot of land, close together and in their own feces and urine for 3-5 months at a time. There's no reason for them to.

I encourage folks to read reports compiled by Ryan Monello, Ph.D., National Park Service, about the elk in Rocky Mountain National Park. His team estimates the elk herd in RMNP have as high as an 18.9% prevalence of CWD. They're culling CWD+ elk.

I also encourage folks to look at the 2014 Wyoming CWD Report on the WGFD website. It shows both positives and negatives in deer and elk for 2014 on maps.

I agree that with more predators and without elk feedgrounds there will not be the same number of elk in the same locations winter long in western Wyoming as we're accustomed to seeing. That's the point.

Maury Jones

Once again, Lloyd,
"Doctor, Doctor, have mercy on me,
Your cure is worse than my disease."

Chad guenter

Stop feeding the elk NOW, after the wolves have the numbers to cause mass fatalities, and we will see a collapse in the elk population. My guess would be the same numbers as the N. Yellowstone herd, 75-80 percent. The elk will be forced to the hills for food and into the wolves kill zone or stay in the valley, starve and browse through neighborhoods and town.

I am sickened by the "puritanical" environmentalist fanatics who have caused the upset in the MANAGED balance we had. The invasive wolf introduction and protection has done irreversible damage to ungulates in the GYE. I say irreversible because we will never be able to get rid of the invasive species wolves.

Sean Mulkearns

I was waiting and watching this article for additional comments. Immediately upon reading it, I was struck by the fact that Only weeks ago, Maury Jones advocated culling the herd of horses to make it better for them and was Immediately Called Names....Now Maury Jones is advocating Feeding the Elk and was again Immediately Called Names!

Maury Jones

Good comments. Thanks. They can't have it both ways.

Gary Fenner

I live in Louisiana,but have hunted close to Jackson Hole several times and have enjoyed dining on some of those elk and mule deer.My only question is Why would anyone want to stop feeding the elk?As far as I know ,it does them no harm.It helps to make up for the thousands killed by non-indigenous Canadian wolves introduced by the USFWS.If you don't like elk,don't go look at them.Starving them to death seems harsh to me.But,I never understood the leftie mentality;kill babies whenever you feel like it,but don't fry a murderer.

Roger Hayden

Always good to read the views from an uninformed Louisiana resident who has drunk not just the elk-feeding Kool-Aid, but the wolf Kool-Aid as well. Consider the source.

Gary Fenner

And your biology degree came from where?I do drink kool-aid,just not idiot kool-aid.And it's always good to read the view of a resident putz.I am sure you have contributed thousands to an array of wildlife programs.

Valerie Music

Great to hear Louisiana men have more on the ball than the local kool-aid drinking liberal boys that have invaded Jackson. They have done nothing but ruin wildlife habitat with their demands of pathways and twisted art. Just wait until the elk start pooping on their precious pathways. That may wake them up!
Liberals attack with verbal abuse when they have no facts to back up their "agenda." Thanks Jonesy for the attention to this very important issue.

Maury Jones

And thanks for your support. You may also have some "Cowgirl common sense".

Lloyd Dorsey

The report, "What Happens When Feeding Ends," is located at ; then Resources, Elk Feeding Issues, and Detailed Q&A on elk feeding and migration. I emailed it to Maury.
There's 51 citations at the end of the report; if there's something not accurate or not well founded, we'd be interested in hearing about it, along with better references if they exist. You can reach me at or 690-1967
Maury can deny that winter range exists, but the agencies have identified it on the maps we've referenced. Anyone can easily go out the Gros Ventre Valley and see for themselves about 100,000 acres of designated big game winter range.
I've traveled throughout the Rockies (from Colorado to the Yukon) since I was 16, which was almost 47 years ago, have lived in Wyoming for 40 years. I backpack hunt elk, mule deer and pronghorn, am familiar with the ecology of the region, including important habitats, predators, diseases like CWD, and migration routes. And human settlements and modifications of the landscape. If, after reading the report, anyone notices something incorrect, I'm willing to make changes. Am also very willing to visit with folks about how best to make the transition from a winter feeding paradigm to free-ranging. Given that CWD is coming into western Wyoming, we're going to have to change sooner or later. Thanks,
/s/ Lloyd Dorsey

Maury Jones

Hi Lloyd. I welcome people looking at both sides of the issue and at your documentation. I stand by my closing argument. Are you willing to risk the destruction of our iconic elk herd by going back to the 1800s and early 1900s when the elk were not fed? In 1889 there were fewer people here, fewer fences, fewer homes on elk winter range, and no impediment to them migrating, if they did. In spite of that, 20,000 elk starved to death in 1889. Then in 1909, 1910, and 1911 those free-ranging elk were not fed and so many of them died that "you could walk for two miles on dead elk without touching the ground." That is what you, Lloyd Dorsey, want to go back to. If your groups succeed in eliminating elk feeding and then we have a devastating winter with a resultant 80% winter kill, the blood of those elk and the loss of the iconic Jackson Hole Elk Herd will be on your head. And by the way, the Laramie Elk Herd has had CWD for 30 years. They winter in very large herds every bit as dense as elk feedgrounds. Their infection rate varies from 3% to 7%. Hardly a catastrophe. I would rather risk that than risk losing the herd, as per 1889 and 1909. After others look at your documentation, then look at my common sense analysis of the huge winter kills before elk feeding, they will conclude it is not worth the risk for such an experiment which failed miserably when elk were not fed.

Lloyd Dorsey

Not recommending going back to the late 1800's or early 1900's; just recognizing that in this 21st century virtually no other elk are fed, nor need to be fed to have abundant herds throughout the Rockies. That "experiment" plays out successfully in every Rocky Mountain state each year 'cept western Wyoming.

Winter loss occasionally happens to elk and deer herds. Happens regularly in one place or another throughout North American elk and deer ranges. Culls the weak and adjusts the herds to carrying capacity of winter ranges. Allows plant communities to recover from excessive herbivory.

The Laramie elk herd is sympatric with the mule deer herd that has CWD at 45% and is crashing. Elk are getting CWD, and it's steadily increasing in the elk. Which is typical of elk herds that share the range with deer that have CWD. The WGFD Job Completion Reports are worth reading on this; they're on their website.

Elk population in Wyoming is quite high; see the 2014 WGFD Annual Report on their website, p.A3. Elk are 28,000 (33%) above objective (110,500/82,525). Elk harvest success in Wyoming is between 40-45% each fall, the highest of any Rocky Mountain state. Only about 20% of Wyoming's elk are fed. There is plenty of winter range to sustain free ranging elk in the feedground counties. References are in the report on Wyoming Wildlife Advocates' website.

Having abundant predators throughout the Rockies to help keep elk and deer herds healthy and well distributed and below carrying capacity of winter ranges, and ending artificial winter feeding in Western Wyoming are some of the best tools we have for ensuring herds for future generations to enjoy.

Valerie Music

Winter loss just happens. Not sure on numbers or reports on CWD. Could this be natures way of culling the herds. Maybe disease just "happens"

Valerie Music

I would like to hear more from Lloyd Dorsey on the role human settlements and modifications of landscape play.
In regards to "free range", Montana beef farmers are suffering hardships with the pressure of open fences and bison herds destroying their cattle and way of life. Correct me if I am wrong.

Lloyd Dorsey

I'm not aware of bison herds destroying cattle and Montana ranchers' way of life. You might offer some of the data and information source(s).

I am, however, pretty sure it was expanding civilization and agrarian way of life in the 1800's that had a harmful effect on bison populations, to put it mildly. Now, in the 21st century, there are efforts to conserve bison and other native wildlife where feasible. This includes Canada, the U.S., including Alaska. Any number of articles and reports available if you google around about bison conservation. You might check out reports by Keith Aune of Wildlife Conservation Society.

As for human settlements, luckily in the Rocky Mountain states, and some others, there are vast landscapes not developed or sparsely developed, which provide wildlife habitat. Through the efforts of many conservation-minded folks of all walks of life, we've accomplished commendable successes to restore many species that were once functionally extinct. We've learned the value of natural processes such as fire, predators, migrations, etc., that can inform our conservation efforts through this century and, hopefully, beyond. There's a good background for this discussion in the report on Wyoming Wildlife Advocates' website about phasing out elk feeding.

Valerie Music

Human settlements surround Jackson's feed grounds, not to mention the millions that pass through our parks, our airports and ski industry. Are you suggesting a one size fits all program for all areas? We are also at the base of Yellowstone National Park where we planted the Canidian wolf which plays a very large role. Do these other areas you refer to have the same? Introduction of the wolf, human population and our severe winters?

Dick George

Just as with the near Durango EPA breach of an old gold mine the environmentalists want it both ways, leave the Elk in their natural habitat and import non-indigenous Timber Wolves to satisfy their need to create a "natural" predator. So their darling the EPA breaches a wall poisoning three States habitat, creating havoc for ranchers, rafters, fishermen and the surrounding population and they say nothing, yet having interrupted the natural habitat of Jackson Hole area Elk the hue and cry is let the Elk starve in this their "natural state." One just has to love this hideous pretense and foul lack of compassion, typical of leftists-progressives disdain for reality and reason...

Valerie Music

Let the elk starve, eager to watch the thrill kill of the wolf, aborting human babies. Where is the compassion?

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