News from Jackson Hole Radio November 29, 2020

Elk on the Move

by Jackson Hole Radio News

Significant elk movement to the Refuge from summer and transitional range began a week ago, and as of Monday, 1540 elk were observed on the southern half of the National Elk Refuge. GPS collar data suggests that 20 out of 43 collared elk were either on the Refuge or on adjacent Forest Service land as of last weekend.  The onset of fall migration to the refuge this year is earlier compared with recent years, but close to the long-term average of November 15th.   Collar data suggests that 80% of the collared elk that have arrived on the National Elk Refuge to date summered in Grand Teton National Park.  However, most elk from the Short-Distance migratory segment are still on their summer range, and few elk that summer in the Gros Ventre drainage have moved to the Refuge to date.  Additional elk movement across highway 89 to the Refuge is likely, and drivers should be particularly cautious at night and in the early morning hours in the area between Jackson and the Gros Ventre junction roundabout. Approximately 120 elk have been harvested during the National Elk Refuge season so far, and at this rate we are on track for above average total elk harvest by the end of the Refuge season on December 13th.