Below is a news release from Grand Teton National Park.
An elk reduction program began Saturday, November 18 continuing through Sunday, December 10 in Grand Teton National Park. The park’s enabling legislation of 1950 authorizes Grand Teton National Park to jointly administer an elk reduction program, with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, when necessary for the proper management and conservation of the Jackson Elk Herd.
Respective federal and state resource managers have reviewed available data and concluded that the 2023 program is necessary. The need for the program is determined annually and is based on the status of the Jackson Elk Herd, including estimated herd size and composition and the number of elk on supplemental feed on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Elk Refuge. A total of 40 permits are authorized for the 2023 program.
The only area open to the elk reduction program is Wyoming Game and Fish Elk Hunt Area 75, located mostly east of U.S. Highway 89. The Antelope Flats portion of Hunt Area 75 will be closed all season, with remaining portions closing December 10. The Snake River Bottom between Deadmans Bar and Ditch Creek is closed.
Wyoming Game and Fish Elk Hunt Area 79 is closed to limit harvest pressure on northern migratory and resident elk.
Participants in the program must carry their state license for Elk Hunt Area 75, conservation stamp, elk special management permit and 2023 elk reduction program park permit, use non-lead ammunition, and are limited in the number of cartridges they are able to carry each day. Harvest is currently restricted to cows and calves. The use of archery, handguns, or other non-center fire ammunition rifles is not permitted, nor is the use of artificial elk calls. In addition, participants, regardless of age, are required to carry a hunter safety card, wear fluorescent orange or pink, and carry and have immediately accessible a 7.9 oz. (or larger) can of non-expired bear spray. Information packets accompanying each permit warn participants of the risk of bear encounters and offer tips on how to minimize the risk of human-bear conflicts.
With detection of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in three mule deer and an elk within Grand Teton National Park since 2018, the National Park Service increased surveillance efforts to include mandatory collection of elk heads from all elk harvested during the program. Elk Reduction Program participants must turn in the head from any elk harvested in the park at the drop location in Moose. Park personnel will collect biological samples from the heads and submit them to the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory for testing. Participants can check their results online.
National Park Service and Wyoming Game and Fish staff will monitor and patrol elk reduction program areas to ensure compliance with rules and regulations, interpret the elk reduction program to visitors, and provide participants with information regarding bear activity and safety. These program areas will remain open to park visitors, and wearing bright colors is highly encouraged during this time.
An information line for the elk reduction program is available at 307-739-3681. More information can be found at www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/elkreduction.htm.
(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)