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Book Cover
Grand Teton Elk






Study Area

Elk Population

Population Dynamics

Elk Habits

Effects on Habitats

Elk Management






The Elk of Grand Teton and Southern Yellowstone National Parks National Park Service Arrowhead




The Study Area


The Elk Population

Jackson Hole Herd
    Winter Distributions
    Relations to Green River Herd

Refuge Winter Herd

National Park Elk
    Grand Teton
    Southern Yellowstone

Population Dynamics

Female Reproduction
    Breeding Ages
    Pregancy Rates
    Relative Reproductive Success

Sex and Age Structures

Mortality and Increases
    Newborn Mortality
    Annual Increases and Other Mortality
Population Trends

Elk Habits

    Spring Migrations
    Elevational Movements a
    Sex and Age Differences
    Insect Relationships
    Intermingling Between Herds

Fall Migrations
    Migration Chronology
    Number Relationships

Habitat Use
    Valley Areas
    Mountain Areas

Food Habits
    Season and Yearlong Averages

Effects on Habitats

Valley Areas

Mountain Areas
    Plant and Ground Cover
    Grass Condition
    Use of Key Plant Species
    Vegetation Trends
Other Areas

Elk Management

Purpose of Management
Hunt Statistics
    Yearly and Total Elk Kills by Units
    Permit Use, Season Dates, and Hunting Success
    Composition of Kill

Evaluation of Management Program
    Hunt System
    Efficiency of Hunt Units
    Illegal Kills
    Overall Results


Environmental Influences
    Climate and Weather
    Winter Food and Plant Succession
    Predators and Scavengers
    Parasites and Disease
    Other Animals
    Developments and Winter Ranges
    Livestock Grazing
    Artificial Feeding
Behavior Relationships
Habitat Relationships
Population Regulation
    Past Populations
    Present Populations


Purpose of Parks
Purpose of Other Agencies
The Future


Literature Cited


I. Common and scientific names of plants

II. Average percent canopy cover and frequency of plants and bare ground area on a ridgetop elk concentration area and adjoining herbland slope

III. Average percent canopy coverage and percent frequency of plant taxa on slope areas of the bunchgrass-shrub type

IV. Average percent canopy coverage and percent frequency of plant taxa on four 34-plot sample units within a 7,000 foot elevation forest park and a 9,000 foot subalpine meadow

V. Plants averaging 5 percent or more of the recorded use or used at 25 percent or more of the elk feeding sites on the bunchgrass-shrub type

VI. Plants averaging 5 percent or more of the recorded use or used at 25 percent or more of the elk feeding sites on the valley meadow type

VII. Plants averaging 5 percent or more of the recorded use or used at 25 percent or more of the elk feeding sites on the deciduous and coniferous forest types

VIII. Plants averaging 5 percent or more of the recorded use or used at 25 percent or more of the elk feeding sites on the sagebrush type

IX. Plants averaging 5 percent or more of the recorded use or used at 25 percent or more of the elk feeding sites on the herbland, subalpine meadow, and forest park types


1. Mean monthly snow depths for December through March periods, 1961-1967

2. Classification of vegetation on study area

3. Division of Jackson Hole Elk Herd into major population segments, winter herds, summer segments and groups

4. Maximum late July or early August counts of elk on refuge and Grand Teton valley areas with calculations of probable numbers

5. Numbers of different aged elk indicated to be present or to have ovarian structures associated with fertility

6. Sex and age classifications of animals wintering on the National Elk Refuge

7. Population size and hunter kill information from combined refuge and Gros Ventre herds

8. Population size and hunter kill information from refuge winter herd

9. Frequency with which refuge winter herd occurred within different size ranges during 54 years since 1912

10. Numbers and sex and age classes of elk observed in Yellowstone Park areas in late June in relation to snow depths at an 8,000 foot station

11. Numbers and percentages of elk observed on mountain range areas above 8,500 feet, 1962-1966

12. Numbers and average size of elk groups observed on high elevation ranges in relation to molesting insects

13. Numbers of marked refuge and Northern Yellowstone elk observed within distance zones from the south boundary of the National Elk Refuge, 1963-1966

14. Bimonthly counts of elk on the south two-thirds of the National Elk Refuge

15. Numbers of elk tracks crossing transects inside and outside Grand Teton National Park in years of maximum counts at 6 to 7 year intervals

16. Instances of plant use by forage class at 473 elk feeding sites on different vegetation types during seasonal periods

17. Average percent leader use and severely hedged serviceberry and bitterbrush plants on permanent 25-50 plant sample units located on elk wintering areas in Grand Teton, 1962-1967

18. Average percent utilization on bluebunch wheatgrass on nineteen 100-plant sample units on Grand Teton areas used by wildlife alone, sites additionally used by cattle and within distance zones from National Elk Refuge feed grounds, 1963-1967

19. Condition, relative density, and maximum leaf heights of Idaho fescue plants inside and outside an exclosure on Red Creek Ridge

20. Percentages of key food plants grazed during spring and summer periods, 1964-1967

21. Comparison between 1959 and 1965 100 3/4-inch loop hits on 11 transects inside and outside exclosures on high elevation elk summer range areas in Yellow stone National Park

22. Legal kills of elk in Grand Teton hunting units, 1951-1966

23. Season dates, numbers of permits authorized and used, and percent hunter success, 1951-1966

24. Elk kills, numbers of hunters, and percent success in four park hunting units, 1963-1966

25. Data showing trends in reducing October migrations to refuge winter ranges, reducing late migrating segments that cross Grand Teton Park, and allowing increases in herd segments that migrate through areas outside the park

26. Numbers of elk fed hay diets on the refuge and recorded losses, 1912-1967

27. Summary of elk behavior caused by external environmental influences and intraspecies relationships


1. Map showing major vegetation types on the study area

2. Physiographic map of the study area and adjoining lands

3. Plant succession relationships at elevations from 6,200 to 7,500 feet within valley areas

4. Plant succession relationships at elevations from about 7,000 to 10,000 feet within northern mountain

5a. Approximate center of Grand Teton Park showing extensive sagebrush type on the outwash plain, the valley meadow, and bottomland forest types along the Snake River flood plain, and the upland forest type on glacial moraine sites

5b. The sagebrush type in a pothole area

5c. Valley meadow and bottomland forest types on Snake River flood plain

5d. Valley meadow type on National Elk Refuge bottom-lands and the bunchgrass-shrub type on adjoining slopes

5e. Bunchgrass-shrub type on south slopes with bottom land developed as a hayfield

5f. Herbland type on upper portions of Chicken Ridge and in the foreground

5g. Interspersed forest park, burn, and upland forest types with herbland above the upper half of Red Creek Ridge

5h. Extensive subalpine meadow type with scattered Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir stands on Pitchstone Plateau

6. Boundaries of historical elk winter range showing the main portion of Jackson Hole valley lands (shaded) where the animals are excluded because of human settlement or conflicts with agriculture

7. Summer elk distributions by area and track count transects

8. Population trends of the Jackson Hole herd and refuge winter segment, as indicated by maximum counts and/or estimates within periods since 1911 and corresponding average hunting removals

9. Percentages of female, calf, yearling, and adult male elk observed between 6,800 to 8,500 and 8,600 to 10,000 foot elevations within mountain areas during June through October periods, 1962-1966

10. Relative use of different vegetation types in valley areas as indicated from observations of 82,223 elk between April and December, 1962-1966

11. Relative use of different vegetation types in mountain areas as indicated from observations of 20,017 elk between June and October, 1962-1966

12. Ridgetop Photo

13. Herbland Photo

14. Map of park hunt units

15. Food relationship between animals and vegetation types on valley winter ranges

16. Elk population regulation

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Last Modified: Thurs, Feb 26 2004 10:00:00 pm PDT

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