- Rocky Mountain bull elk.
According to Idaho Department Fish and Game officials, approximately 180 elk frequented a IDFG feeding station west of Ketchum this past winter, but as many as 33 died near Warm Springs Canyon station—11 killed by mountain lions and 22 more trampled by other elk or starved because they couldn't get to the feed.
This morning's Idaho Mountain Express reports IDFG puts out pellets every few days at the site, which was established in 1980 in an effort to keep the elk away from Ketchum's residential areas.
None of this year's deceased elves showed signs of disease, but several revealed blunt-force trauma or poor body condition. Additionally, mountain lions were known to have slept in the feed shed, waiting for their prey.
"The larger, more mature animals get aggressive for the feed, and we end up having calves get killed," IDFG spokesman Kelton Hatch told The Mountain Express, adding that some of the calves starve because adult elk may have prevented the calves from reaching the feed.
The Mountain Express reports the feeding station deaths were in addition to 20 elk killed when stacked hay bales toppled on them and 20 more elk were killed from eating toxic yew plans near Hailey.