Our needed rains have not altered the elk herd location pattern. There are still a couple of herds not accounted for that no doubt are in back fields away from the valley. A few outstanding fields remain vacant that will be the eventual home of one of these herds.
The rut seems to be earlier overall this year. Many of the biggest bulls have arrived about a week early. I think it is significant that the Bubba Stud has been seen.
This weekend promises to continue outstanding elk viewing. So far this year, the south end remains the best place to see the elk herds during the rut. That big field has not been hayed, and it will not be grazed by cattle. There is at least one pond, and there is pooled water behind the field in the Buffalo River. Those are ideal conditions. The area is also probably safer for viewing than further up the valley -- there is less traffic based on my informal observations.
With all the infrastructure projects being discussed by the federal government, we should be pushing for creation of the elk viewing pullouts in the valley by the relevant authorities. These have been planned for years to no end. Nobody should have to die to get the state and federal authorities serious about creating these pullouts.