The number of elk killed by hunters in Grand Teton National Park this fall is the lowest seen since the hunt was resumed after a two-year suspension in 1961. That’s according to statistics released yesterday by park biologists. Spokesperson Jackie Skaggs says the total number of elk harvested this year was 183. She says it’s definitely a lower number than in recent years, but the Park has been authorizing fewer permits over the past few years. Consequently, Skaggs says there have been lower totals in the last couple of years than the several years before that. Skaggs explains that the elk reduction program was initiated in 1951 as a tool to assure there were not more animals in the valley than the habitat could support. Skaggs explains, “That is part of our legislation — the enabling legislation that created Grand Teton National Park stipulated that there would be an elk reduction program when necessary to maintain a sustainable population of elk in Jackson Hole.” She goes on that the park is part of a larger initiative that seeks to maintain the total population for Jackson Hole elk. Skaggs says the hunting season was a graduated season beginning October 6th and lasting for about a month on the northern end of the park in hunt area 79, but concluding Sunday just north of the National Elk Refuge in hunt area 75.