From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 41 - January 8, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Wolves blow elk off feedgrounds

by Cat Urbigkit

Federally protected gray wolves have hit several elk feedgrounds in Sublette County in the last week, running large herds off the feedgrounds, but directly killing few elk in the process.

As reported in the Examiner a few weeks ago, all the elk left the North Piney elk feedground and headed down to the Bench Corral feedground, apparently due to wolf presence.

Although the elk ended up at Bench Corral, that didn't mean they were safe from predation. Scott Werbelow of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said that wolves hit Bench Corral last Friday, with the result being some elk blowing the feedground headed to the southwest and Billy Canyon, while others headed toward Ken Fear's place on Cottonwood.

The same day, wolves hit the Jewett elk feedground, blowing about 300 head off the feedground, but they returned the next day, Werbelow said.

Wolves also hit the Franz feedground for three days in a row last weekend, scattering 100-150 elk onto ranchlands held by Larry Braun and Doug Vickrey. On Monday, Werbelow said, "We just got them moved back this morning." WG&F moved the elk by herding them with snowmachines.

Werbelow said at least four wolves have been seen moving between the Black Butte and Soda Lake elk feedgrounds as well.

With recent snowstorms dropping a lot of snow, there are more elk on feedgrounds this year than normal. Some elk tend to winter out away from the feedgrounds, but it appears some of these elk have moved onto the feedgrounds for now, Werbelow said.

Here's the elk count on each feedground:

Finnegan 290

North Piney 0

Bench Corral 816

Jewett 750

Franz 420

Black Butte 575

Upper Green 450

Soda Lake 350

Fall Creek 475

Scab Creek 675

Muddy 450

Werbelow noted that more elk are arriving at Soda Lake daily, and the number of elk at the Jewett feedground is at an all-time high. Some feedgrounds are currently under objective, and that includes Muddy, Fall Creek, Soda and the Upper Green River feedground.

As for the condition of animals arriving on the feedgrounds, Werbelow said, "The elk are looking really good."

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