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Resolution to Keep Elk Feed Grounds in Operation

WHEREAS, history tells us that prior to 1900, at the turn of the century elk were being fed by the private sector, as the valley was being settled local Jackson Hole ranchers used a portion of their hay crop to use as an attractant to entice elk away from other problem areas by feeding them elsewhere away from their cattle operations; and

WHEREAS, during the harsh winter of 1909-10, thousands of elk died from starvation in the Jackson Hole area, this event resulted in a public outcry for wildlife officials to act which they did, this was the beginning of feeding elk in Wyoming by the Wyoming Game & Fish Commission (WGFC); and

WHEREAS, the following year, 1911 the Wyoming Legislature requested Congress to cooperate with the State in preserving wintering big game, Congress responded by appropriating $20,000.00 to feed elk, this was the time when the Federal Gov't became involved in the Jackson area and set the stage for the formation of the National Elk Refuge (NER) in 1912; and

WHEREAS, brucellosis, a disease that can cause cattle to abort was detected in feed ground elk in 1930, although originally it was not a major concern, it became a concern in later years with the potential problem of transmission of the disease from elk to cattle if they were to co-mingle; and

WHEREAS, as the productive valleys of Teton, Sublette, and Lincoln counties continued over the years elk feeding progressed and the benefits of the program by keeping elk and cattle separated as much as possible was apparent, it reduced the possibility of transmission of brucellosis, damages to rancher's fences and haystacks as well as the original intent of eliminating the starvation of thousands of elk each year, and maintaining a robust population of elk; and

WHEREAS, today the State of Wyoming has 22 elk feed grounds that supply supplemental winter feed to 20,000 elk located in Lincoln, Teton, and Sublette counties and are managed and operated by the WGFD under the direction of the Wyoming Game & Fish Commission (WGFC) a Governor appointed commission who serves as the policy making board of the WGFD and

supervises the Director of the WGFD and through the WGFD provides an adequate system of control, propagation, management, protection, and regulation of all wildlife in Wyoming; and

WHEREAS, there is an effort by some very vocal and powerful activist groups to begin closing the elk feed grounds because of a not new, but not fully understood disease called Chronic Wasting Diseases (CWD), CWD has been around for decades throughout the United States and Canada as well as parts of Europe and Asia and has never decimated a big game herd; and

WHEREAS, it is the opinion of the WGFD that if these elk feed grounds are forced to close 80% of the elk herd in NW Wyoming will need to be eliminated in order to manage the potential conflict that will result from their closure; and

RESOLVED, that the Lincoln County Republican Party supports the continued operation of all 22 state run feed grounds and the National Elk Refuge. Be it further,

RESOLVED, that the Wyoming Republican Party demands that the Wyoming Legislature, Wyoming G&F Commission, Wyoming Game & Fish Dept., and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service continue to feed elk on the 22 state feed grounds and NER as they have since 1910 for the benefit of our wildlife and continued enjoyment of the citizens of the United States and beyond.


Wyoming Republican Party, 22 Nov 12 SCC

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