The Elk Herd in NC..2012

I was excited to be visiting the NC mountains during fall leaf season.  We were off to Waynesville NC. Someone had mentioned to Joe that there were Elk in that area.  So I jumped on the Google website to find out.  Yep,  not to far from where we would be staying there is a herd of Elk.  We had read that the best time to view them is dawn or dusk.  Here are some pictures from our experience and some quotes from the Great Smokey Mountains National Park Service Web Site.
We drove a narrow mountain road, Cove Creek Road.  I would say, even though it was meant for 2 lane traffic, that it was far less then a two lane road.  When ever a vehicle came toward us one of us had to move over.  It was a bit unnerving.  I did learn later that this was the easy way up. I guess if you take Rt 32 from Tenn it is really scary.

"Elk once roamed the southern Appalachian mountains and elsewhere in the eastern United States. They were eliminated from the region by over-hunting and loss of habitat. 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."

When we arrived at our destination we saw cars lined up and lots of folks with binoculars and cameras.

"An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001. Elk once roamed the Smokies, but were eliminated from the region in the mid 1800s by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Other animals successfully reintroduced to the park include river otters and barn owls."

"During the fall breeding season, known as "rut", male elk make their legendary bugling calls to challenge other bulls and attract cows. Their calls may be heard a mile or more away."
(We were lucky and did get to hear the Elk Bugle several times.  Pretty Neat:-)
"Large bulls use their antlers to intimidate and spar with other males. Most encounters are ritualistic and involve little physical contact; only occasionally do conflicts result in serious injuries to one or more combatants."
(The little guy below did try to enter the large male's territory but was quickly chased off and there were no injuries.)

"Warning! Elk are large animals--larger than the park's black bears--and can be dangerous. Female elk with calves have charged people in defense of their offspring. Males (bulls) may perceive people as challengers to their domain and charge. The best way to avoid these hazards is to keep your distance."
Well we did keep our distance but I had a camera with a zoom so I was able to get the close up shots you see above and here are a few more...

"Reintroduction of elk into Great Smoky Mountains National Park began in 2001 when 25 elk were brought from the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area along the Tennessee-Kentucky border. In 2002, the park imported another 27 animals."
(We had a great time viewing the Elk.  If you get a chance to go you should and take your camera with a long zoom or your binoculars.  I always try to get one family member in a picture at any outing or tour we may take, you know, for the memories.  As hard as I tried I just could not get Joe to stand by the male Elk:-)
Here are a couple of pictures of us so you know who we are.....

Get out and Explore...
Enjoy Your World:-)


  1. Hi Kathiey,
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Waynesville to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you soon!

    1. Of course you can share this on your site. I would be honored:-)


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