Thursday, November 24, 2011

11/24/11 Thanksgiving Weekend Viewing

Late Season Bull Elk Surveys Cows in Mid-Valley
Happy Thanksgiving. Weather has turned cool, perhaps the dominant pattern now for the season. Elk viewing will be good in these cold months. I am making fewer trips to Boxley Valley, but I will update this blog a few times a week. Visits to Boxley Valley will be successful on most days now because of the cooler weather. Elk love this weather.

Visitors should follow these guidelines for late fall viewing:
  •  Be sure to check all of Boxley Valley from Ponca to the South Trailhead to the Upper Wilderness with each visit. There are many different elk herds in and around the valley on back fields, they will move in and out of viewing areas.
  • While all day elk viewing is more likely now, morning and evening remain the best chance to see elk up close. Seeing big bull elk up close is still often best at daybreak.
  • Do not assume because you saw elk in a location last week, or last year, that you will see them in the same location today. This almost never works.
  • ALWAYS check Lost Valley for a herd. The fields along the entrance road to Lost Valley are outstanding viewing locations when elk are there. From now until the end of the year is when Lost Valley elk viewing is most likely. Photographers will not want to miss that opportunity.
  • If you see cattle in a field, the likelihood of seeing elk in the same field is just about zero.
  • There are 4 zones (see map) now with active elk herds as follows:
       1. Ponca Zone -- There are a few fields near the Ponca Access that elk rotate through.
       2. Mid-Valley -- North of the Mill Pond, south of Lost Valley.
       3. 43/21 Zone -- The all-bull herds seems to favor these fields, often by the mill pond.
       4. South End Zone -- Around Smith Creek & the Upper Wilderness Trailhead.
  • Don't waste your time with the elk viewing pullout, it is lousy, a 0% viewing area. 
The mix of herds now includes an all-bull herd at 43/21, rutting bulls and herds in late rut, and the first small post rut all-cow herds. This is absolutely the best time to get pictures of bull elk in groups and will remain so until around April 1.

See new map with 4 zones below:

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