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Elk

Cervus canadensis

Description:

Small herd that broke off from the original introduced herd in Cataloochee. There was a ranger there, and I believe he said this herd had around 17 members. There was a bull with several cows and calves. It was evening. We didn't hear any bugling. I don't think the bull had a reason to! One ranger said he hadn't heard any bugling for a couple weeks. One said she had heard one the night before.

Habitat:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Oconaluftee Visitor Center, in rangers' yards

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4 Comments

Caleb Steindel
Caleb Steindel 7 years ago

nice collection of photos, love #2

shebebusynow
shebebusynow 7 years ago

No doubt the over-hunting of elk was an issue with the Cherokee! (my tribal ancestors happened to live right in the area where you are). The natives in western Oregon used to burn patches of high ground/ridges to keep the elk in pasturage. They don't seem to jump fences much, but groove deep paths down to water. You don't see them in hunting season (smart elk), but otherwise we catch glimpses of them grazing at dawn near the creek in the cow pasture. I never hear them bugling, but they occasionally come within 50 yards of the house. They don't show themselves like the deer do, though.

sarah in the woods
sarah in the woods 7 years ago

From the park website: "The last elk in North Carolina was believed to have been killed in the late 1700s. In Tennessee, the last elk was killed in the mid-1800s. . . Reintroduction of elk into Great Smoky Mountains National Park began in 2001." Several of the ones we saw had radio collars for monitoring.

shebebusynow
shebebusynow 7 years ago

I take it that the eastern elk herds had died out/been exterminated? Roosevelt elk (though there seems to be some debate about their actual distinction) is what we have in Oregon; many dozens of them inhabit our land. They are very successful here! You sure don't want to meet a herd coming around a corner on a road--they're as big as a horse. One will keep a family in meat for most of a winter.

North Carolina, USA

Spotted on Oct 28, 2013
Submitted on Nov 23, 2013

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