The number of elk on the National Elk Refuge is increasing, but the more numerous ungulates still will have to forage for their own meals for a while. Refuge Biologist Eric Cole says ample forage remains at wet meadow index sites north of Miller Butte, and the average snow depth on the south end of the refuge is only 4″ with snow conditions that do not limit access to forage. Cole says however that warmer weather will likely increase the snow pack density in areas with deeper snow to the north leading to more elk moving south in search of readily available forage. He says conditions will be evaluated again later this week to determine when feeding should begin. Currently, approximately 5700 elk are on the southern end of the refuge while another 500 are still in the hills on the north end.