Grand Teton National Park will open its 2018 elk reduction program Saturday.
Under its 1950 enabling legislation, the park may jointly administer the program with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. It is implemented when deemed necessary for proper management and conservation of the Jackson elk herd.
After reviewing the status of the herd, including estimated herd size and composition and the number of elk on supplemental feed at the National Elk Refuge, biologists have determined that a reudction program is warranted.
A total of 575 permits are authorized this year, the fewest since the progrm began. Last year 600 permits were authorized and 242 elk were harvested from the park.
Most of the hunting arreas are located east of U.S. Highway 89.
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.