The annual elk classification count on the National Elk Refuge was completed last week. Just under 7 thousand elk were counted on feed at the Refuge. This is slightly higher than last year’s count at this time. That makes this is the fourth consecutive year that wildlife managers have met the Refuge population objective, which was agreed upon by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and National Elk Refuge. The goal is to have no more than 7,500 elk on feed. There are a certain number of elk that spend the winter off feed, on adjacent native winter range. This number fluctuates from year to year depending on the severity of the winter. Elk were counted on these adjacent winter ranges by helicopter the same day. There were an additional 1,405 elk counted in the outlying areas of the National Elk Refuge and bordering National Forest lands. Elk that winter on and adjacent to the National Elk Refuge account for about 60- 65% of the entire Jackson elk herd. The remaining portions of the herd winter in areas including the Gros Ventre, Spread Creek and Buffalo Fork drainages. Those elk will also be counted as weather permits.