Changes in Store for Elk Reduction Program
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393
Grand Teton National Park officials plan to implement changes in the 2013 elk reduction program (ERP)-a National Park Service (NPS) wildlife management program conducted in collaboration with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and designed to help regulate the Jackson elk herd. These changes will be made in part to reduce the chance of grizzly bear-hunter encounters.
On Thanksgiving Day, 2012, an adult grizzly bear was shot and killed by hunters participating in Grand Teton National Park's ERP. This incident followed a 2011 mauling of a hunter by a grizzly bear in the same area. Grizzly bear-hunter conflicts in Grand Teton have escalated as the distribution and density of grizzly bears has increased.
Grand Teton National Park's establishing 1950 legislation provides for the controlled reduction of elk in the park, when necessary, for the conservation of the Jackson elk herd. Conditions that resulted in this legislation, as it pertains to elk management, persist today. These conditions include large numbers of elk from several herd segments that migrate through the park during the fall, and a continuing need for regulation of the Jackson elk herd to reach the objective of 11,000 animals established by the WGFD and the 2007 Bison and Elk Management Plan. Furthermore, park harvests have contributed about one-quarter of the annual Jackson elk herd harvest in recent years.
Actions to be executed for the 2013 ERP include:
Existing measures already in place to mitigate grizzly bear-hunter encounters include:
Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Grand Teton National Park officials meet annually to establish seasons and harvest goals for the ERP.
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