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Forest Service authorizes winter elk feeding to continue at Wyoming’s Dell Creek

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CASPER, Wyo. — The United States Forest Service has given authorization to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to allow winter elk feeding operations to continue at the Dell Creek Feedground.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department said on Friday that the U.S. Forest Service provided a one-year special use permit that will allow feeding to begin in coming weeks as winter conditions arrive in the state.

“We’re grateful to the Bridger-Teton National Forest for their partnership to continue elk feedground operations at Dell Creek,” Game and Fish Chief of Wildlife Rick King said. “This feedground location is crucial to mitigate brucellosis disease concerns and maintain elk populations.”

The feedground is located at the northern edge of Sublette County. In the 2020-2021 winter, 529 elk came to the feedground and received supplemental feed, according to Game and Fish.

The department typically begins providing feed around November 15 each year. The feedground has been operational for over 40 years.

Game and Fish is gathering public input through a process to establish a new long-term feedground 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,” Game and Fish said. “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.”

A decision letter from the Bridger-Teton National Forest authorizing the continuation of elk feeding at Dell Creek is available online.

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