Mar 30, 2012 - The Associated PressJACKSON (AP) -- The supplemental feeding program for elk at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson was shorter than usual this year.
The refuge ended its feeding program on Wednesday, March 28, after 56 days.
That's two weeks shorter than the average supplemental feeding period.
Refuge manager Eric Cole says feeding at the refuge has averaged roughly 70 days over the past 10 years.
He says the refuge didn't have significant snow limiting access to forage until late January and said the spring thaw was earlier than usual.
Cole said the refuge also saw increased forage production because of a new irrigation system.
There were 7,360 elk on the refuge in February, up from the 10-year average of 7,324.
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