The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has requested a permit from the US Forest Service to maintain elk feeding operations at the Dell Creek Feedground at the northern edge of Sublette County for the 2021/2022 winter. Over the 2020/2021 winter, 529 elk were counted at the Dell Creek location for supplemental feed. The main purpose of the feedground is to mitigate brucellosis disease concerns.
Chief of the Game and Fish Wildlife Division Richard King says, “Not having the ability to feed at Dell Creek could have dire consequences in terms of dispersing elk that could spread brucellosis to cattle, cause damage to private land and result in elk frequenting the highway.” Elk have utilized feedgrounds in northwest Wyoming since the early 1900s.
Approximately 14,000 elk are supplementally-fed during the winter months on 22 Game and Fish-operated feedgrounds in Teton, Sublette and Lincoln counties. An additional 8,000 elk are fed at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Supplemental feeding is a complicated and often contentious issue with biological, social, economic and political considerations. Meanwhile, the department is continuing a public process to gather input on the Game and Fish Department’s elk feedground management plan.