The feeding has ended for the year at the National Elk Refuge and the elk and bison have begun migrating away already. This year, biologists counted 7360 elk and 759 bison on feed at the refuge. Refuge Spokesperson Lori Iverson says that is down from last year’s count. That, she says, is because we didn’t have the heavy snow totals. She says the lower numbers on feed actually work well with the refuge objective to decrease the reliance of elk on supplemental feeding. Additionally, she says such mild winters allow the refuge to feed for a shorter period of time. Iverson says even as the migration has started, the elk have begun dropping their antlers. However, Iverson reminds antler hunters not to go out collecting since collecting is forbidden on the refuge and in the park, and won’t be permitted until after May 1st on the forest. Meanwhile, this year’s collection of antlers for sale and Elk Fest on May 19th may have a lower yield than average since in many cases, the elk are leaving the refuge before shedding their antlers.