I am pleased to report that I have FINALLY seen a fairly large number of elk in the wild. I had stopped at this area a few miles east of Reedsport, Oregon on Wednesday as I drove up to Florence, which features a lengthy parking area parallel to the main road (but separated from it) where people can safely watch the fields for elk which have come out of the wooded area behind it. These are free range elk but evidently choose to hang out in this area on a fairly regular basis.
When I stopped by on Wednesday I saw, of course, zero elk. Par for the course for me. I have been to a huge elk preserve outside of Jackson, Wyoming on two different trips there and didn’t see any there either. Nor did I see any in central Pennsylvania (a state I’ve lived in most of my life and didn’t even KNOW there were elk there). A few years ago I was driving through rural northern Wisconsin at night (I had put myself “on the clock” and arrived later than expected at my Airbnb there). That night I saw signs warning of elk crossing the road for the next 20 miles. I’ve wanted to see an elk in the wild but was glad that I DIDN’T see any that night!
But I digress…
Thursday afternoon I returned to this area near Reedsport and, sure enough, there were maybe 30 elk out grazing in the fields. There were quite a few adult females (called cows) and their offspring, which were obviously smaller in size but were getting pretty big. I did not see any adult males (called bulls).
I returned Thursday in the late afternoon and spotted one huge bull – although he wasn’t in the “viewing area” but in a field about a half mile before it (where there wasn’t anywhere to safely park). I went and got pictures of the other elk (maybe twice as many as I had seen earlier in the day) then parked back towards town and walked back along the main road to get some pictures of the bull. This group of cows was evidently his “harem” – that’s really what they call it. Adult males will amass a loyal following of females which he breeds with and that group is, in fact, called a harem.