NEWS

Game and Fish to continue elk feeding at Dell Creek

The department will seek a temporary special permit

10/4/2021 4:52:29 PM

Cheyenne - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has requested a permit from the U.S. Forest Service to maintain elk feeding operations at the Dell Creek Feedground for the 2021/2022 winter. The department, in partnership with the USFS, are working together to allow for continued feeding of elk this winter at the location.

“Game and Fish believes a recent court decision provides clarity in what was required to continue feedground operations at Dell Creek, and we’re interested in a pathway forward,” said Richard King, chief of the Game and Fish wildlife division.

The Dell Creek elk feedground is situated at the northern edge of Sublette County. Over the 2020/2021 winter, 529 elk attended the location for supplemental feed. The main purpose of the feedground is to mitigate brucellosis disease concerns.

“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,” King said. 

Game and Fish is committed to maintaining feeding operations at Dell Creek and is not intending to propose a closure.

“We’re planning to continue our operations for this year and will exercise best-practices for elk feeding at Dell Creek, just like we do with all other department-operated elk feedgrounds. That includes beginning feeding as late as possible, patterning feed to spread out elk and ending feeding as soon as reasonable,” King said. 

The department is continuing a public process to gather input on Game and Fish’s elk feedgrounds management plan. The elk feedgrounds steering team, charged with developing a long-term feedgrounds management plan for the agency, consists of 13 Game and Fish personnel closely tied to the elk feedgrounds program along with five representatives from partnering federal agencies, which include the National Elk Refuge, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Bureau of Land Management and Grand Teton National Park.

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.
 

(Sara DiRienzo, Public Information Officer - (sara.dirienzo@wyo.gov))

- WGFD -

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