Wildlife Watch: Wild Elk Feeding

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Forest fires in the West provide improved habitat for deer and elk in the long run, yet immediately can cause massive starvation.  I’ve bow hunted elk in Idaho and an old burn is a magnet as they feed on the young emerging vegetation that is high in protein and easily accessible.  Last fall, a large burn occurred in a wintering ground for elk and the prospects seemed dim for thousands of elk who needed that low-altitude grass to survive.  Thankfully, the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game stepped in with a feeding program, putting up to 15 tons of hay on the ground every day.

The unusually high snow accumulations in the West have been a boon to skiers, yet put herds of wildlife at great peril.  This unusual time-lapse photography from the sporting classics daily website shows the huge numbers swarming for survival.  It’s important to state that this isn’t overpopulation.  Typically, these animals feed on natural vegetation and survive on their own.  In another year or two, this burned out habitat will actually support more game than before.  Check it out: http://sportingclassicsdaily.com/wildlife-wild-feed/

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.

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