A large herd of elk migrating up Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Photo: Mike Cavaroc (@freeroamingphoto)

JACKSON, Wyo. — Thousands of elk have made their way to the National Elk Refuge in Jackson as part of the ungulates’ annual migration into their winter range.

Earlier this month, a weekly wildlife count conducted by Eric Cole, senior wildlife biologist at the National Elk Refuge, determined that current elk numbers on the Refuge were four times higher than what is typically seen this time of year.

Every year, elk migrate out of the high country and travel down into their winter range. In Jackson, the National Elk Refuge is one of the important areas for wintering wildlife. This is where elk from Yellowstone migrate for the season.

In a normal year around 6,000 to 7,000 elk make their way to the Refuge. In the spring, elk begin migrating off the Refuge toward their summer ranges. The majority will follow the receding snow line up to higher elevations in Grand Teton National Park and in the Teton Wilderness in the Bridger Teton National Forest.