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Elk Feedground Puzzle – Sifting through the Fake News…

Photo by: Mike Eastman – Filmed in the 60’s on the Jackson Hole Feed Ground

The elk feedground situation in Wyoming is a very dynamic one and there are many sides to the story.  Due to the longevity of the supplemental feeding programs in Wyoming and the good reasons for doing so that began many years ago, the scenario is slow to see any change, good or bad.

One thing I can’t stand, though, is when a reporter puts spin on a topic. The writer of this story on the elk feedground puzzle is either incredibly ignorant or simply a spin doctor (click here to read the article).

I can cite several misleading statements in this drivel and I’m curious if you can see through the fodder, too. Leave your comments below.

Our culture is obsessed with misinformation in order to forward a narrative, no matter what the subject matter is. Do yourself a favor and read between the lines on this and other “disasters” in the “news”.

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  1. This reporter – “Angus” tried to pack a ton of information into a short article. The devil is in the details ! My question is what is the condition / option for suitable habitat / carrying capacity and quality feed. The fact is humans / ranchers have taken the habitat, hence the reason they are even being fed there now ! Trade offs !
    If CWD is taking “X” elk historically – the question is what is desired herd size, then what are options to maintain or reduce that size ???? Again not simple, what elements of ecosystem are impacted ? U lose elk u lose or force predators to use another food source.
    The thing in this to me is they ALREADY have a known variable – the current feeding program. The offsets in displacing elk might not justify another strategy ? Good luck with this Wyoming, too many hands in the cookie jar.

  2. I am sorry to hear of the problems with the herd in Jackson. Bringing animals together increases spread of CWD. I shot an Elk last year in Colorado that tested positive for CWD. Its not any fun to have put in a ton of work to destroy the meat because of this contamination. I think Wyoming can stop feeding the Elk and most will move “hopefully” to normal feeding areas and routes. They can transplant the Elk in winter ranges that offer food sources that time of year. I also want to point out the Timber Wolves have NOT culled the herd of all weak animals and in that area there are a lot of wolves. The Wolves have more than normal carrying capacity in my opinion. I would expect pack numbers to drop if the Elk are not continued to be feed as well. Often we have to allow wild animals to be wild and help them with a little to reset, but then let natural course corrections happen. Its a hard problem to solve and make the best decision for all on and many ideas will likely come up that the area simply wont be able to afford. I wish the State of Wyoming the best of luck and I will be watching and cheering Jackson area on!

  3. I don’t know what you’re talking about” I can cite several misleading statements in this drivel and I’m curious if you can see through the fodder, too.” I’ve personally attended the meetings, listened to the WYGFD dialog and presentations, data , conflict statements etc, and I think the reporter actually provided an accurate and transparent account of what those meetings consisted of. How bout the only ‘fake news’ is the bullshit headlines that you email as click bait. Sell any advertising lately? Gbears, 2A, fake news, give me a break ,You(EHJ) don’t represent hunters with this rhetoric. Hunters and ‘conservationist’ actually support accurate , science based wildlife management for the sake and longevity of wildlife populations and the future of our heritage activity.

  4. Mitch McFarland

    I guess I must be one of the “sheep” because I couldn’t find the misleading statements in the article. Would you care to elaborate on what they were? Compared to a lot of things I read this article seemed to be fairly well balanced in my mind, so I’m curious about what I’m missing. It seems to me that the elk feeding issue is complex and will require respectful conversations amongst many groups to come up with a plan. And I fail to see how your comments contribute to that. With the threat of CWD in the herds there is an urgency to looking at how/when/where policies can be implemented to slow its spread and how to gather the best input for making those decisions.

  5. I would gladly donate money to help feed,for the opportunity to take some cow elk to eat? Great opportunity to teach my grandson s about management of game ,why we keep the numbers down. Brent Sample Texas

  6. Reading between the lines is a big ask for the EHJ readership. Nice tactic on passing the buck of fake news on to the comment section. A true journalist would provide a cogent counter argument. You have not done that, so Angus Thuermer’s article stands.

  7. I agree with these comments. If you’re going to attack Angus’ credibility and describe him as a “spin doctor” who’s misleading readers, how about actually making your argument? The writer of this clickbait post does not, probably because he does not understand the nuance and the science of this complex issue and didn’t attend the same meetings that Angus did. Shame on EHJ, do better for your readers.

  8. I agree with most comments so far. I see no spin… other than the EHJ portion. In addition, a previous article or newsletter had roughly stated “…maybe we can just learn to live with CWD like they have in the Midwest?” I found this to be a foolish statement considering each state has managed it differently, and the states that have done it more successfully, have done it by being aggressive in their management style, while the hands-off approach (which I gathered to be the preference of Eastmans) has been a tremendous failure in central Wisconsin, leading to increased prevalence(over 20% in 3 counties) and geographic spread. I’ve found that most objections to CWD management solutions come from a place of “I don’t like the way this will impact my personal hunting,” rather than “What is best for the resource in the long term?”. I, of course don’t have the answer to that, but it seems like the state of Wyoming is working the process in a reasonable way.

  9. I have not fully educated myself on this issue, but in thinking about it for a few minutes it seems to me that we need to figure out how big of a problem the CWD is in Wyoming elk herd before we try to pin it’s transmission on elk in feeding grounds and start trying to limit feeding to “flatten the curve”. Elk have been getting fed at these locations for generations. If more elk than the target carrying capacity show up at the feeding grounds only feed the amount needed for the target carrying capacity. The weak will die and the issue will resolve itself. The key is maintaining a large enough elk population to counter act the impact of all elk mortality regardless of what it is. Hunting, Predation, CWD, Road Kill, etc. If the real issue is CWD, Elk are a herd animal, What keeps them from transmitting it to the rest of their herd the rest of the year? How is CWD passed from one elk to another? Just some key things to know. I think we need to figure out if there is really a problem, before we try to solve it. I would suggest a “wait and see” approach to see what kind of impact CWD poses in addition to normal mortality for overall elk numbers as seen at the feeding grounds under normal conditions over the next several years, then figure out if something needs to be done. My gut tells me that it is not as big a problem as some individuals would like to make it.

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