The 2018 elk reduction program begins Saturday, October 27, 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 deemed 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 2018 program is necessary. 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 National Elk Refuge.
A total of 575 permits are authorized for the 2018 program, the fewest of any year the program has been in effect. Last year 600 permits were authorized and 242 elk were harvested from the park.
The areas of the park open to the program, Elk Reduction Areas 75 and 79, are mostly located east of U.S. Highway 89. Area 79, the more northerly section, closes October 31. The Antelope Flats portion of area 75 closes November 26, and the remaining portions of Area 75 close December 9. These areas remain open to park visitors, and wearing bright colors is highly recommended during this time.
Participants in the program must carry their state hunting license, conservation stamp, elk special management permit and 2018 elk reduction program park permit, use non-lead ammunition, and are limited in the number of cartridges they are able to carry each day. The use of archery, hand guns, 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 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.
Park 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 outreach regarding bear activity and safety.