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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Where Have The Elk Gone?

This is a photo from last year of the elk peacefully browsing next to our house. During breakfast this morning the topic was discussed wherein we haven't seen any elk activity where they normally have been for the past number of years.

We have not heard the elk bugling nor have we had any around so far. There are no tracks in the road or other signs of elk. Thus far we haven't even seen a single elk wherein past years they have been abundant due to no legal hunting in our community. Hence the elk see our area as a safe area and normally congregate nearby during hunting season as in the photo above.

I have noted that there have been numerous suspicious vehicles going down our road having every appearance of hunting. Just this morning at 5:55 AM, a vehicle went down our road when it was still dark outside with its headlights off which is suspicious. The dogs alerted me and I could see the outline of the vehicle but there were no visible lights showing.

Last week I had a telephone call from an acquaintance who had driven up to check his lot which is at the other end or the road from us. He advised that when he went to his lot he found a vehicle and camping on it and several hunting rifles and it appeared a group of people were hunting (poaching) from his lot. He wanted to know who to call and I told him to call the sheriff. It appears that poaching or hunting in a prohibited area has gotten worse and the activity has driven the elk and game animals from our area. Many in our community like to observe and photo the elk and they will see less and less like in our case unless the illegal hunting is stopped. We are living somewhat remotely and having problems like this seem inherent to the area.

Each year we have witnessed illegal hunting on our road because there are no roads behind us and the area is private hunting only. This is the first year in 19 years that we not seen the presence of elk by now. This year we have seen multiple vehicles with hunters in hunting garb going down our road. It appears the elk may have been pressured out of our area.

That is my speculation only but it seems odd that we don't have any elk or elk signs thus far. So where have the elk moved to?  Forced out of our area?  Lured to another area? Diminished herd size? All we know is we haven't seen nor heard them yet and we miss them.

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