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Wildlife: Where to See Elk

Elk mostly travel in herds making them easier to spot.
june 2010 wildlife elk 445x260Elk in Rocky Mountain (johnvlasicphotography.com)

Range
Rockies, coastal Oregon and Washington, central California coast, Oklahoma, Minnesota, North Dakota, Texas, and Pennsylvania

Where
>> Open fields In midsummer, elk head for alpine meadows to graze, though they bed down in the timber at night.
>> Water holes In arid climates, like Arizona and southern Colorado, elk congregate around lakes and pools, especially in the evenings.

When
>> Mornings and evenings Scan the boundaries between meadow and forest as elk move to and from their bedding grounds.

How
>> Stick to the shadows, and stay motionless. When you’re very close—inside of 30 yards—blinking seems like a sudden movement to elk, says Bridger Petrini, hunting guide and owner of Tri-State Outfitters in Raton, New Mexico, so he pulls down his hat bill to cloak his eyes. “If you move, make it slow and fluid, not jerky,” he says.
>> Listen for the distinctive bugling to guide you in to the herd.
>> Call them in with a bugling horn (like with moose).

Top spots
Colorado’s Flat Tops Wilderness has North America’s largest elk herd, numbering 40,000. See them on the vast alpine tundra of the 18-mile-long Chinese Wall Trail.

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