Elk on refuge increase

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Elk Refuge

The latest count of elk on the National Refuge is 6,730, up nearly a thousand from a week ago. According to Senior Wildlife Biologist Eric Cole, average available forage at key index sites is 1,150 lbs. per acre.  Average snow depth at these sites was 9 inches, and except in areas where previous elk foraging activity had compacted the snow, the forage was accessible beneath the snow all the way to the ground. Consequently, supplemental feeding is not immediately necessary.

Cole says feeding start dates in recent decades have ranged from December 30th to February 28th, and there have been 10 winters that the Refuge has not fed at all since 1912, the most recent being 2018.   Bison, meanwhile remain well north of the Refuge with no sign of southward movement.



 

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