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Jackson Hole, May 16 - 17, 2020
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More Information About Elk Fest

About Antlers

Antlers are the fastest growing bone of any mammals. Find out more about these unique structures as you "Explore the Nature of Wyoming." 

The Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center

Located a half mile north of the Town Square, the Visitor Center is open year-round to assist you during your vacation. Our friendly staff from a variety of agencies look forward to making your trip memorable. Sit in on an interpretive presentation with a naturalist or catch a film screening on local wildlife. Learn about the local wildlife and ecosystem with our interactive displays.  Relax on our wildlife and wetlands viewing decks, or check out the bookstore and gift shop with guides, maps, books and souvenirs. The Visitor Center is also the place to obtain Federal lands passes as well as hunting and fishing licenses. We also have restrooms, courtesy telephones and a mail drop for our guests' convenience.

The National Elk Refuge

The National Elk Refuge is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants. Since Theodore Roosevelt designated the first wildlife refuge in 1903, the system has grown to more than 150 million acres and is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Located adjacent to the Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest, the National Elk Refuge is guided by the agency's mission to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Simply put, the refuge manages for "wildlife first." Consequently, the refuge offers fewer recreational opportunities than its federal neighbors in order to carry out this mission.

The National Elk Refuge celebrated its centennial in 2012. An Act of Congress on August 10, 1912 appropriated money for the purchase of lands and maintenance of a winter elk refuge, which created the present day National Elk Refuge. The Refuge is approximately 25,000 acres and is devoted primarily to the preservation of winter range for wintering herds of elk and bison. In addition, the area provides habitat and crucial wintering areas for a variety of other wildlife, including trumpeter swans, bald eagles, ravens, bighorn sheep, mule deer, moose, coyotes, wolves, and a variety of waterfowl.

Elk Habits in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Yellowstone National Park shared this photo on Facebook on May 3, 2016 with the following description: "It looks like a bull elk might have used this tree to help relieve him of his second antler during a previous spring. The bull who owned this set did not drop them this year, which is evident by the color. Freshly dropped antlers are a brownish color but as they age, they turn white. Whether inside or outside of a park, shed antlers left on the ground provide an important source of minerals for many small animals. Antlers are bone and are mainly composed of calcium. Humans need calcium to keep their bones and teeth strong and growing normally; so do wild animals. Humans eat a variety of foods, like milk, cheese, ice cream, and leafy green vegetables, to get the calcium they need. For wildlife, calcium is harder to obtain. Small mammals, like mice, voles, chipmunks, and ground squirrels, get calcium by gnawing on shed antlers and animal bones. By leaving antlers on the ground, you are helping these animals to survive." Find Yellowstone National Park at

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