Posts Tagged ‘National Elk Refuge’

Jackson Hole Antler Arches, an iconic symbol…

December 17th, 2012 by Amy

The Grand Tetons, the Mormon Barn, The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, and the Antler Arches on the town square downtown Jackson Hole are just a few of the most memorable and most photographed features of the valley.  As Jackson transformed from a mountain man town into a dude ranch town the antler arches grew in popularity with family travelers and locals alike.

There are four antler arches, one marking each corner of the town square.  Though there isn’t an exact date of when the first arch was built and placed on the town square, most sources cite 1960 as the year the first antler arch was added to the town square.  In 2007 they began to replace the arches, and auctioned off the old weathered ones.

Each arch contains about 10,000 pounds of elk antlers.  Don’t worry not one elk was harmed in the making of the arches.  Elk grow antlers that they shed annually.  Unlike horns that must be cut off and are hollow inside, antlers, fall off naturally and are solid.  Starting May 1 locals, tourist, and the local Boy Scout club hit the National Forests and Elk Refuge in search of the all the antler sheds.  Each year at the Old West Days the Boy Scouts put on an auction where they sell their antlers.  Others sell them to jewelers, furniture makers, private deals, dealers from overseas, or just keep them to enjoy in their own homes.

Next time you are in Jackson Hole Wyoming on vacation, make sure you stop by the town square and get your iconic picture in front of the JH Antler Arches.

A walk in the Park…

January 16th, 2012 by Amy Worster

For those of us at Goosewing Ranch once the snow starts accumulating, we start closing up shop.  Just because Goosewing is closed during the winter months doesn’t mean the Gros Ventre valley isn’t booming with life.  For many species, the Gros Ventre is a good place to call home for the winter.

As one might imagine winter in Wyoming can be brutal.  Now think what it might be like if you had to dig through a foot of snow every time you needed a meal.  The Gros Ventre might border Grand Teton National Park, but surviving out here is no walk in the park.  Elk don’t have the luxury of putting on a winter snow suit to stay warm, or opening the refrigerator for a meal.  They must use their front legs and paw at the snow until they dig deep enough to find the grasses underneath.  This will usually burn as much energy as they receive from the meal.  Though the Gros Ventre valley will see extremely cold temperatures, and high winds throughout the winter, it typically receives less snow fall than some of the surrounding mountain ranges.  Lighter snow pack and abundant grasses from the summer make this area a wonderful place to spend the winter, that is, if you‘re an elk.

Life isn’t easy being an elk – you have to deal with weather and deep snow packs, you need to avoid wolves, and be healthy enough to fight off diseases.  Finding an appropriate place to winter is the difference between life and death.  Ranchers have been feeding elk in the Jackson Hole area for close to 100 years.  This still holds true today in the Gros Ventre.  The Gros Ventre valley is home to 3 out of the state’s 22 elk feeding areas.  It makes sense to supplement feeding for them here since elk are naturally drawn to this area.   About 3500-4500 elk will spend the winter around Goosewing Ranch, and the feed grounds.  That number varies depending on the amount of snow fall in the area.  There is a lot of controversy about feeding the elk, but, right or wrong, it is wonderful to see them in our backyard.

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“As the gateway to the Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is the epicenter of guest-ranch vacationing in North America. If one acknowledges that this is the area that sets the standard, then the Goosewing Ranch sets the gold standard.”
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