Continuing snowy conditions keep Jackson Hole

Very unusual late, deep snows keep National Elk Refuge and nearby national forest lands under winter closures-

Snow extends closures. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole Daily

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Dangerous snow: Is foot rot taking hold at the National Elk Refuge?

Rot is caused by freeze-thaw cycles in unsanitary snow-

We just have to keep pointing out that persistant winter feeding of elk breeds disease. Now 23 elk have been put down for what is thought to be foot rot. No doubt more will die.

Foot rot suspected in elk deaths on refuge. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole Daily.

Wyoming to spend $9.7M to protect pronghorn

Finally, it looks like a real effort to keep antelope bottlenecks west of Pinedale from closing-

Over the years, we have written about the Trapper’s Point pronghorn migration bottleneck a number of times.  There has been growing awareness that the thousands-of-year-old antelope migration from the Wyoming high desert over the Gros Ventre each year, down into Jackson Hole could easily be severed by increasing development.

I had heard something was being done.  This summer I visited Trappers Point, walked all around, took photos, but saw no changes to the situation had been made. Today the Jackson Hole News and Guide has some good news.  There will be an expansive and expensive overpass built at Trappers Point and another at a dangerous highway crossing about 5 miles to the NW, north of Daniel Junction.

Of course, these overpasses will benefit other kinds of wildlife hit on the highways in this area of increasing traffic and development from the gas fields and subdivisions.

State to spend $9.7M to protect pronghorn: Plan would build fences, highway underpasses and overpasses in Sublette County (WY). By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Earthquake hits Wyoming; landslide reported

Epicenter of this moderate quake appears to be in Gros Ventre River valley upstream from Jackson Hole-

Earthquake hits Wyoming; landslide reported. Associated Press

Here is more detailed information from USGS.

Update. 4.4 earthquake jiggles valley. By Angus M. Thuermer Jr.. Jackson Hole Daily

Jackson Hole area: Prescribed burn set for Lower Slide Lake area

4500 acres of 17,000 acre habitat important project to be burned this fall-

Any comments about this will be welcome. The story says the burn could last as few as 6 days but as long as 6 weeks. So what about folks who live nearby?

Prescribed burn set for Lower Slide Lake area. By Angus M. Thuermer Jr., Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Moose declines puzzling. Habitat, malnutrition, predators play roles

I think the studies show Jackson Hole moose are slowly starving-

There is a story in today’s Jackson Hole News and Guide. Moose declines puzzling. Habitat, malnutrition, predators play roles. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole, WY

I don’t see much evidence of direct population depression from predation, especially wolf predation, here.  Predators do disproportionately take animals that are starving.  Both Joel Berger and later Scott Becker found that by far the largest mortality source of female moose in Jackson Hole was starvation.  The poor condition of female moose is also shown by the reduction in the number of twins produced from 10% to less than 5%.”

As far as much quoted B.J. Hill,  local outfitter,”[who] thinks habitat loss is exaggerated and says “I’ve watched moose literally live off of pine needles,” I say everyone knows that moose eat conifer in the winter in deep snow areas.  First, however, moose need a balanced diet the entire year and second, the conifer are dying.  Article after article after article has appeared about the vast disease and beetle kill of pines and other conifers from the Yukon to New Mexico.

Hill claims to live in the mountains every day. Why then didn’t he notice that beginning in 1988 and a number of years thereafter, most of Teton Wilderness burned? The conifers are gone. I wrote two guides to the Teton Wilderness — one came out in the early 1980s and second in 2000. Many more pine have died of insects since then.  Any damn fool that has spent time there can see that the ecology of the place has been transformed.

Jackson Hole area bighorn sheep herd showing signs of pneumonia

Disease so far seems limited in area-

Jackson bighorn sheep herd showing signs of pneumonia. Pinedale Online. From Wyoming Game and Fish