Helping hand isn't
The best way to help wildlife live through a bitter winter is to leave them alone, says the Montana-based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Free food can accustom deer and elk to human hand-outs and erode instincts that protect the animals, says the group. If the ration suddenly disappears, the animals may descend on farms or yards to look for food. In addition, table scraps, alfalfa or hay left for elk may also invite bears and mountain lions. The foundation suggests those tempted to feed wild animals focus instead on saving disappearing winter range. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation can be reached at P.O. Box 8249, Missoula, MT 59807 (406/523-4575).