Wildlife biologists with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently partnered to deploy an additional 26 GPS collars on cow elk at the National Elk Refuge.
About the time when biologist think they know what elk do seasonally each year, they then throw a curve ball. For example, in 2018 about 2,500 elk that traditionally winter in the Gros Ventre drainage pretty much all decided to vacate the area for other winter ranges. If not for the GPS collars several of the elk were wearing, biologists would not have known for sure where they went or if they were alive.
Currently, there are a total of 40 elk that crews collared on the National Elk Refuge. They collared an additional 30 elk in the Gros Ventre drainage and two in the Buffalo Valley. This makes a total of 72 collared elk in the Jackson Elk Herd, which numbers approximately 11,000.
In late April and early May, the elk will begin revealing the migration routes to their high-elevation summer habitat and parturition areas in the surrounding Gros Ventre, Teton and Absaroka Mountain Ranges, although not all of the elk will go to high elevations. A growing proportion is choosing to spend the summer months along the Snake River corridor in Spring Gulch and Grand Teton National Park.
(Photo source: Wyoming Game and Fish Department)