So what is going on with the elk? Today is moving day. I have seen it dozens of times and it is pretty hard to predict how it will all turn out.
First, the huge herd that has been in the Ponca fields has moved (at least) to down by Beech Creek, just north of Cave Mountain Road. That is a big move basically from one end of the valley to the other, about 5 miles south. I am sure it is that herd because the dominant bull is "Little Fork", a bull I have been chasing all year. Given the size of that herd, I expect it ultimately to end up in the Smith Creek field. BUT, they are not there yet, and they don't work for me. It could take another day or two to complete the move. Not likely they will turn around and head back 5 miles north.
Second, the smaller herd run by the "Boxley Stud" has also moved south about 3/4 of a mile. He (they) could stay in the field bordered by Moore Creek (near the 43/21 intersection), but it is not clear. This herd is on the south end of the fields they have been rotating through, so they could go back north. While herd #1 above has moved 5 miles, this herd is only about half a mile away from its normal hangouts.
The bull herd that has been in the middle valley is now just north of the mill pond. They have been ranging around that area for a while now.
So that is it for now. I will have an updated map and a Thanksgiving weekend forecast tomorrow. For today, we just need to sit back and see what happens. I do expect viewing this weekend to be very good, but it will probably be concentrated in the south end after having been more in the north end for a few weeks. This change will baffle people who don't follow my blog and maps.
If you come before I get the next map published, be sure to visit the south end of the valley all the way down to the south trailhead. It sure looks like that is where at least one herd is headed. For the time being the reliable Ponca viewing is done.