Men’s Club…or the Elks club
I’ve mentioned a few times that we were on the National Elf Refuge outside of Jackson. There are literally thousands of Elk in the refuge which provides them with a safe haven and food in the winter months. It is an attempt to make up for the incursion of the human population on the animal’s winter habitat. In the summer, the Elk retreat back into the mountains where they have much more room and many more sources of food. The refuge was established in 1912 and is over 25,000 acres in size. The refuge is also the winter home of mountain sheep, buffalo, deer, and many other species (including predators like coyotes and wolves). During our first day or two in Jackson we saw mostly Elk cows and their young – including some with very small antlers. We didn’t see any large antlered bulls until we went to the opposite side of the refuge and there was a large “bachelor herd” with prominent headgear. Interestingly, the antlers are shed each year and the Boy Scouts of America collect the antlers under permit and sell them at auction under agreement that 80% of the proceeds are returned to the refuge to feed, research and manage the herd to assure its survival. Ten to eleven thousand pounds (4,500 to 5,000 kg) of antlers are auctioned each year. This is just a shot of a couple of bulls grazing in the afternoon near the town of Jackson.