Visitors will find elk in all the traditional fields from one end of the valley to the other. This morning the bulls were bugling until 10 when I left. In the early morning light they were really bugling often.
Here is the lineup of 7 herds and bulls from North to South:
- Ponca Fields -- Junk Yard Dog (JYD) -- New arrival, he has nearly perfect rack that is kind of round. A great bull with a handful in his harem. He was a late bull last year. (Ponca Fields)
- Middle Valley Field -- Pretty Boy, an early rut bull from last year is in the middle valley field, not a great viewing spot. He is still a bit small, I expect him to be replaced.
- 43/21 Intersection -- Many bulls and a small group of cows. No ID on the herd bull.
- Moore Creek Field -- Small group of cows with no ID on the herd bull.
- North End of Smith Creek Field -- Godzilla with a handfull of cow elk.
- South End of Smith Creek Field -- Boxley Beast and a nice harem, probably the largest.
- Trailhead to the Upper Wilderness -- Maverick with a handful of cows.
The conditions could not be better for viewing. My choice would be the south end by Smith Creek. I believe the traffic is lower there and there are plenty of animals and lots of bugling. Also, be on the lookout for Prince. He is a satellite bull to the Boxley Beast herd.
Be safe and drive carefully. The elk are moving around a lot and cross the highway more often in rut.