"The Resident Elk Herd" William Finley National Wildlife Refuge Off The Beaten Path Tip by glabah

  Elk in Field near Prarie Overlook
by glabah
 
  • Elk in Field near Prarie Overlook - William Finley National Wildlife Refuge
      Elk in Field near Prarie Overlook
    by glabah
  • Elk in Field near Refuge Headquarters - William Finley National Wildlife Refuge
      Elk in Field near Refuge Headquarters
    by glabah
 

Throughout the refuge, you may see signs of a very large group of animals having passed that way. You may hear people talk of having seen the big elk herd, with some saying that there were as many as 400 elk.

However, actually seeing the elk is a very unusual event, or at least it has been, as they usually keep themselves hidden away from people.

However, as winter turns into spring and the days get longer, their evening grazing grounds become well lit, and it is possible to stay in the refuge longer as the refuge closes at sunset. However, the days are not hot yet, so they do not seek the shade in these times - at least not yet.

The elk seem to prefer the open grasslands of the refuge, but only the edges of these areas - along the transition from forest to grasslands. While the photo here was taken from the Prairie Overlook on Finley Refuge Road, they are more frequently seen in the fields on the very south side of the refuge, and visible from Bruce Road. During 2010 they were very frequently seen in the fields directly east of the refuge headquarters office. Based on their very trails through the forest along the Mill Hill loop, it is possible to come across them in the forest as well. However, the trails they leave behind in the forest never seem extremely fresh and it is possible that they only use those forest routes at night, when the refuge is closed to people.

Obviously, you would not want to get in their way or otherwise do anything offensive to them if you find yourself nearby, and really it is best to observe such large animals at a distance. Even if they don't intend to hurt you, even a gentle nudge from something this large can cause injury.

Website: http://www.fws.gov/willamettevalley/finley/index.html

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  • Updated Dec 14, 2011
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glabah

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