- Associated Press - Thursday, December 25, 2014

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Hunters have killed nearly 270 elk on the National Elk Refuge this season, the most in any other year since 2003.

The hunt ended on Dec. 14 and hunters had reported killing 268 elk so far. Refuge staff say some reports are still coming in.

This year, late season daily permits were made available when officers noted low attendance in the field. Officials say the daily permits may have led to an increase in the number of elk killed.

Over the past decade, an average of 149 elk were killed each year on the refuge in northwestern Wyoming.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says hunting is an important wildlife management tool. The refuge seeks to limit the elk population to 5,000 to reduce the need for supplemental feed.

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