New Release

Where Elk Roam: Conservation and Biopolitics of Our National Elk Herd

is for anyone interested in:

  • The biology and conservation of elk
  • Elk hunting
  • Predator-prey relationships
  • The work of wildlife biologists in sustaining wildlife
  • How economic and political considerations can over-ride science    in the formulation of resource policy

Where Elk Roam is the first book published for a general audience about the elk of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, since Olaus Murie’s Elk of North America 60 years ago.  This first person account mixes personal stories and field experiences of the National Elk Refuge biologist (1982-2004) with the details of this iconic elk herd’s ecology, and the role that socio-economics plays in its management and conservation.  The narrative centers on the winter feeding program, designed to sustain more elk than the winter range can support, and the consequences to habitat, biodiversity, and the health of the elk from crowding thousands of animals on feedgrounds each winter.


About the book Jack Ward Thomas, University of Montana Professor Emeritus, writes:

Bruce Smith, who spent 22 years as the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s biologist at the National Elk Refuge, tells its story with the bark off. His job required consummate skills as a biologist, scientist, social scientist, synthesizer, and politician. Now in retirement he tells it like it is and was. He uses a fascinating style of dealing with all those factors through a first person accounting and interpretation of events as they took place. And, he ponders the future of supplemental feeding of wintering elk as a management technique as nobody else could – or even dares.

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