JACKSON, Wyo. — Bridger-Teton National Forest is reminding recreationists that winter wildlife closures are still in effect and will be through April 30.
Winter is the most stressful time of the year for wildlife. Deep snow, cold temperatures, and scarce food make energy conservation the key for winter survival. Most female deer, elk, and moose are also pregnant doubling the need for energy conservation.
When people enter wildlife winter range, animals such as deer, elk, and moose, are forced to stop eating or exert energy to move away. Dogs are an especially high disturbance since they are perceived as predators by wildlife.
Areas of wildlife winter range near Jackson that are closed to all human presence include Josie’s Ridge, the KC trail, Wilson Canyon, the slopes above the Putt-Putt trail, the slopes north of the Game Creek trail and portions of the Gros Ventre drainage. Areas where dogs must be leashed include the Cache, Game, and Teton Pass trailhead areas, the Putt-putt/Woods Canyon trail area and the first 1.2 miles of the Game Creek trail.
Jackson is home to a diverse abundance of wildlife which lives in close proximity to public residences and commonly used trail systems. By respecting winter closures and dog leash requirements, people give wildlife the undisturbed space they need to survive winter conditions.
Monitoring the closures and dog leash requirements has indicated that these restrictions make a difference. Doing the right thing has made trails cleaner, reduced conflicts between dogs, and helped protect the wildlife that make Jackson a special place to live.
While areas such as Cache Creek do not have a leash requirement beyond the trailhead and parking area, it is important to be aware that wildlife may be encountered anywhere in this area. Be a responsible dog owner by keeping dog(s) under control through either a physical restraint like a leash or under strict voice command.
If you do come across wildlife along a trail, STOP and WAIT until they move or if possible turn around, or take an alternative route giving them a wide berth so as not to unnecessarily stress the animals.
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