Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time of day to see the elk?

Depends on what you’re after.  Typically, the warmest part of the day is between 11 am to 2 pm.  As far as elk viewing goes, it varies each day, sometimes hourly.  Often in the morning, the elk are up and grazing. In the early afternoon, they will lay down. In the evening, they will begin grazing again.  If they are being fed that day, they tend to group together to eat in the morning. Once the feed is gone, they will spread out throughout the day. However, they are wild animals. Every day can be different and there is no way to guarantee what they will be doing at any particular time. Weather factors can also change elk behavior.

When do the elk shed their antlers?

The bulls will begin shedding their antlers the end of February, continuing throughout March. A few younger bulls may keep their antlers into April.

When are elk on the Refuge?

Elk begin coming on the National Elk Refuge throughout November in small numbers. More continue to come in December until the amount levels off throughout January and February. When spring comes to the valley, the elk begin leaving, usually beginning sometime in March/April. The elk come to the Refuge as the snow comes to the higher elevations. They follow the melting snow back up in the spring. The migration times can vary depending on the severity and length of the winter. There are no elk on the Refuge during the summer.

The only fence on the Refuge is along the town of Jackson and along the highway.  The rest of the boundaries are open so they can come and go as they please.

Can I bring my pet?

No.  It is an open sleigh. Other animal scents can disturb the elk. If a dog barks, it would scare the elk causing them to run. Everything we do needs to be low impact on the elk.  Since the elk are wild, there is no saying what they will do to another animal that jumps out of the sleigh.

Can I bring a thermos of coffee, tea, etc.?

No food or drinks are allowed on the rides.  Everything we do needs to be low impact on the elk. Foreign scents or foods can bother the animals.

How many can fit on a sleigh?

Roughly 16 adults.  Snow levels/pulling conditions might impact the number of people allowed in each sleigh.

Do you ever have to close due to weather?

Occasionally but not often.  If there are any concerns, please contact us that day to confirm we are still running.

Is the Refuge part of the National Parks system?

No. The parks and refuge systems are two different organizations with different purposes. Therefore, a Parks Pass is not valid for a sleigh ride. The National Elk Refuge is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

When are the elk fed?

Feeding of the elk is determined by the National Elk Refuge and the State of Wyoming.  If feeding does occur, it is typically done in the morning by Refuge personnel.

Where do the proceeds from the ticket sales go?

The Refuge’s share of the ticket price does not go to feeding. It goes to education, maintenance, etc.

Contractor of the National Elk Refuge