From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 6, Number 1 - March 30, 2006
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Fed elk numbers up

by Cat Urbigkit

The number of elk being fed on feedgrounds in Sublette County is up this winter, according to feedground program manager Gary Hornberger of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

“The lack of harvest last year and increased snow this year has put a lot of elk on feed,” he said, with all but a few feeders reporting increased numbers.

The number of elk at the Bench Corral feedground north of Marbleton is at an all-time high of 1,010, up from even the 882 head counted there in 2002 and 2003. With a feedground objective of 250, the number of elk using the feedground quadruples that number.

Hornberger said that the high number is because elk fled the North Piney feedground early and moved to Bench Corral, and some of the Jewett feedground elk wintered at Bench Corral as well. The elk moved in response to harassment by wolves. Once federal officials removed the Daniel wolf pack,problems on these Wyoming Range Front feedgrounds came to an end. There are 622 elk still using the Jewett feedground.

With recent warm weather and resulting melt, elk at Bench Corral are starting to cut back on their hay, so they may quit the feedground any day, ending the feeding season.

The 506 elk using Fall Creek are beginning to leave also, Hornberger reported. In a typical year, elk quit Bench Corral first, with Fall Creek soon to follow, usually by the first of April. Most other feedgrounds will continue to be used by elk through mid-April.

The Finnegan feedground count is below the objective of 400, at 282, while the Franz feedground is sustaining 700 elk.

There were 431 elk counted at the Muddy Creek feedground near Boulder. These elk were hit by a pack of wolves about a week ago and fled the feedground for several days. The elk eventually returned. There are four wolves reported to be using the Wind River Front south of the feedground. The nearby Scab Creek feedground has been feeding 810 elk this winter.

In the Upper Green, 556 elk are using the Green River Lakes feedground. The presence of a pack of four wolves in the area all winter hasn’t caused a big problem for this feedground, Hornberger reported. The Soda Lake feedground has 577 elk, while the Black Butte feedground has 882.

In the Bondurant area, there are 720 elk on the McNeel feedground, with another 245 on Dell Creek.

WG&F feeds eight to 10 pounds of hay per elk per day,increasing that amount in colder weather.

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