Elk Refuge ends winter feeding

Jackson, WY – The National Elk Refuge in northwest Wyoming has stopped supplemental feeding of elk and bison for the winter season.

Refuge officials say they stopped feeding last Friday. This year's feeding season ran 74 days and supported an average of 7,300 elk and 800 bison.

The refuge distributed 5.5 million pounds of alfalfa pellets, down 35 percent from last year.

Some groups oppose federal and state supplemental feeding efforts because of their concern that it promotes the spread of diseases as the animals bunch together on feed lines.

Refuge officials say they're conducting a multiyear health monitoring project of the elk herd, encouraging reduction of the wintering populations and working to enhance the refuge's natural forage for wintering elk.