I’ve photographed elk before. In the Clam Lake, Wisconsin area there is an ongoing scientific study of reintroduced elk. The Wisconsin elk are Rocky Mountain Elk. There are four types of elk left in North America, Roosevelt Elk, Tule Elk, Manitoban Elk and Rocky Mountain Elk. Two types, Eastern Elk and Merriam’s Elk, have been extinct since the 1800s. Of the four remaining types of elk, the Roosevelt Elk are the biggest and are thriving on along the west coast of North America.
The easiest way to find them was at an elk viewing area near Reedsport, Oregon. The story Oregon gives for why these elk are here is, European farmers moved into the area, created fields of grass for sheep and cattle and the Roosevelt Elk in the area came down to the fields to enjoy the grass and stayed.
So these animals are free to roam. When I was there I counted at least fifty elk in these fields.
But it was far more thrilling to find them roaming in the wild near the campground I stayed at in Cape Blanco State Park, near Port Orford, Oregon. A beautiful state park that has nice shady sites, lots of privacy, water and electric hookups for $22.00 a night. With lots of Ocean trails to hike, expansive beaches to photograph and a herd of Roosevelt Elk; it was a very nice place to stay.
The herd I saw at Cape Blanco State Park had two young males, six females and five calves. The larger bull males were conspicuously absent, but the female elk will gather in herds like this during Spring in order to protect their young.
And, unlike the Reedsport herd, these elk didn’t take long to react to my presence.