Diary: Feeding Elk

Though we are seeing a thaw- the forecast predicts 4 days of coming snow, and a fair amount too– a foot or so more. We’ll see.

The elk are here. Here because their grounds up in the highlands are totally covered in snow. So, they come down in search of food to the lower lands. They have torn apart the ground on about 50 acres of scrub oak in search of acorns.

Since this is becoming a tough winter- the neighbors have been talking about how to ease things for the elk.  So, we have hundreds of pounds of grass pellets and brought in a large load of hay yesterday. My husband placed some of it last night.

Several of the neighbors are doing the same.

Some say you should feed the elk and some say it’s not a good idea. It reminds me of the hummingbird controversy – to take the feeder away or leave it hanging until the birds decide to leave on their own.  

5 thoughts on “Diary: Feeding Elk

  1. I’d say feed them and maybe contact ODF to see if they have any $$ in their budget to help pay for fed. You do great work. Thanks for sharing. T & R

  2. I think it is kind and compassionate of you to feed them when there is no food available for them due to the extreme weather. Or is there a problem with habituating them to human contact, or the numbers increasing too much, or the elk taking grazing away from livestock?

    1. Hi Reggie- it is a controversial issue. One aspect is what you feed- if you feed them grains or corn, it can be more harmful than helpful to the animals. We don’t see elk here except when we get extreme weather- then they come down from their regular feeding grounds. And they really only stay as long as there is so much snow cover, so they really don’t compete with livestock. But, I suppose that all depends where you are and what your ranch is like.

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