Wyoming initiates emergency elk feed stations
As winter continues to drag on across Wyoming, officials are working to keep elk herds healthy despite severe cold and little available food. This week, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) opened up emergency elk feeding stations in several places in western Wyoming to keep hungry elk away from haystacks and livestock feedlines, according to the agency.
“Harsh winters are not uncommon in the West, but it has been a while since we have experienced winter conditions like this in western Wyoming,” said Doug Brimeyer, deputy chief of WGFD’s wildlife division. “The deep snow and harsh winter conditions have pushed elk to lower elevations and habitats they don’t typically spend time at during the winter.”
For now, WGFD is concentrating efforts on elk as prior mule deer feeding efforts did not show they were effective at reducing mortality. WGFD will monitor elk as winter conditions continue. Officials ask the public to be aware of wintering wildlife and avoid disturbing or even feeding them in the winter. Feeding wild animals food they are not used to can cause digestive issues and increase disease as animals congregate unnaturally together.
Other tips include keeping right-of-way fence gates open to allow for unimpaired movement, avoiding snowmobiling or snow sports on low-elevation winter ranges and be aware as you drive along highways during the next few months. Wildlife-vehicle collisions occur more frequently during the winter months, according to the agency.