Sometimes the earth swallows up the elk in Boxley Valley, today was one such day. In my travel from Ponca to the Upper Wilderness Trailhead I only saw one herd, and it was moving south of the trailhead along the river into the Upper Buffalo Wilderness.
Otherwise it was only stragglers, the largest group of them were behind the Mill Pond. If you must come down to the valley this evening, I think your best chance to see elk would be around the 43/21 intersection fields. Next would be the field north of Smith Creek. I believe the herd is behind there up in a back field hollow. There were a couple of stragglers in the field this morning. No ground fog, and no elk more or less.
As I predicted, the herd that was in the Ponca field so late in the morning was trying to move across 43 and apparently it did.
If I had to put my finger on what is going on it would be the warm weather, and the fact that this year's drought has impacted the forage. Elk movements have been different this year than in past years.
The good news is that this happened on Monday. The herds will continue to move around so we will probably have some back in the viewing areas by the weekend. They are no doubt nearby. Most of the haying activity should be completed by then. If you were planning to come tonight, I think there will not be very many elk to see. I would wait.
I will continue to keep everyone posted on the status of herds (or no herds) in Boxley Valley.