Posts Tagged ‘Elk


Elk: Grazing at Mammoth Hot Springs

IMG_4038a (1280x920)

Elk gather near the Mammoth Hot Springs visitor center.


Elk in Yellowstone

Elk congregate in the Mammoth Hot Springs area.  I saw the signs before I saw the elk.  The signs stated, “DANGER” “Do not approach elk”.  I turned the corner and there they were.  Everywhere!  People that is.  About fifty elk had gathered on the clover lawns and busily grazed, while people left their cars and, in spite of the signs, approached the elk.  One group of people had approached one large female to within about ten feet.  I sat watching from inside my car as one of them turned with a very satisfied and proud look after taking a picture.  He seemed so proud of himself.  I guess I mumbled out loud because after I heard myself say, “You’re going to get your ass stomped dumbass.”  All five of them got a serious look on their face and immediately took a few steps away from the elk.

Seriously folks, they are wild animals.  Just because they are used to humans doesn’t mean they are tame.  It means they have lost their natural fear of humans and if you get too close or they perceive you as a threat, they will react the way a wild animal reacts.  I hope getting charged by a wild animal that weighs around five hundred pounds (225 kilos) doesn’t hurt too much, but it probably will.  Oh and the big bull males go about 700 pounds (over 300 kilos).  If you want to get a nice close-up, buy yourself a nice telephoto lens and do yourself and the wildlife a favor.

IMG_4033a (1280x853)


Yellowstone National Park

The final park for this trip.  I saw elk everywhere during my first drive.  I even saw them inside one of the campgrounds!

IMG_4059a (1280x882)


Roosevelt Elk

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.

IMG_0974a (1280x850)

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.

IMG_0971a (1280x810)

So these animals are free to roam.  When I was there I counted at least fifty elk in these fields.

IMG_1003a (1280x753)

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.

IMG_0922ab (1280x810)

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.

IMG_0935a (1280x788)

And, unlike the Reedsport herd, these elk didn’t take long to react to my presence.


Elk in Chaco Wash


It seems the elk spend the evening near the cliff wall and in the fields of Chaco Canyon grazing, then, in the mornings, they walk down in the Chaco Canyon’s washes to find some shade and graze some more.


Back Home


Taking pictures of large animals doesn’t require getting very close to them.  Had this shot been a Whitetail Deer, it wouldn’t have turned out very well, but, because the Elk are so much larger, it turned out well enough.

July 2020

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 281 other followers