A group of cow elk cross the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park in this photo taken October 9, 2017. Elk are beginning their migration from high elevation areas surrounding Jackson Hole. Many of them will winter on the National Elk Refugeadjacent to the town of Jackson. (Diana Robinson/Flickr Creative Commons)
WYOMING – It’s fall and animals are on the move. Where are they all going and why? At Buckrail, we can’t stop studying informative maps put out by the Wyoming Migration Initiative (some of them using ancient data) that show where deer, elk, and antelope disperse every autumn to find more hospitable winters.
In the spring, ungulates “surf the green wave,” moving and munching with new growth into the high country.
Now, in fall, elk have mostly traded their longer, historic migration to more southern climes like the Red Desert for a shorter run to the grocery store at one of the more than 20 feedgrounds in and around the Jackson Hole region.
Mule deer and pronghorn still hoof it quite a ways—most headed down the Hoback Canyon for the Pinedale/Rock Springs region.
Wyoming Migration Initiative is a Wyoming-based collaborative of biologists, photographers, mapmakers, and writers working to research ungulate migration. Their mission is to advance understanding, appreciation, and conservation of Wyoming’s migratory ungulates by conducting innovative research and sharing scientific information through public outreach.
For those who can make it:
Sheridan Stationery, Books and Gallery will host a book signing with Joe Riis and Emiline Ostlind on Saturday from 11am to 1pm.
Riis is a National Geographic contributing photographer and photography fellow at the Wyoming Migration Initiative. He has been working in the Greater Yellowstone area since early 2008, focusing primarily on wildlife migration.
He and Ostlind will sign copies of the book “Greater Yellowstone Migrations” at the downtown bookstore.