Biologists at the National Elk Refuge have determined that the natural forage conditions there have dwindled to the point supplemental feeding is appropriate. Refuge Biologist Eric Cole explains that available forage at most index sites was near or below the threshold level of 300 pounds per acre. Although remaining forage was higher in wet meadow areas north of Nowlin Creek, large numbers of elk have been foraging in that area. Cole says the determination was made jointly with biologists from Wyoming Game and Fish. Currently, Cole says there are approximately 6,000 elk and 600 bison on the refuge. The February 4th feeding start up is one week later than the 1995–2013 average, and 11 days later than the 10-year average.