Elk watching in Cataloochee Valley

November 25, 2022

I’d hoped to listen to the bugle of bull elk throughout our highway journey via Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park, however these eerie, whistling autumnal calls elude me but. Nonetheless, I can’t complain in regards to the elk viewing within the scenic Cataloochee Valley of North Carolina, about an hour west of Asheville. We arrived at twilight on October twenty ninth, bumping down a rugged, twisting highway to succeed in the valley, figuring out it could be darkish on the best way out and questioning if it could be definitely worth the cautious navigation of a slender mountain highway at evening.

Oh, it positive was.

As quickly as we reached the valley we noticed an unlimited bull elk vigilantly watching a herd of cows. We pulled over to the aspect of the highway to look at him.

There have been solely a half-dozen or so different vehicles at that hour, with folks watching quietly from their home windows or standing behind their vehicles. The bull picked his approach throughout a meadow, retaining tempo with the cows.

One cow emerged from a creek within the woods on the opposite aspect of the highway and thought of coming throughout.

The bull determined he wanted to around her up, and she or he turned again.

Why did the elk cross the highway? Through the rut, he’s obtained one factor on his thoughts: the women.

He surveys the scene.

After which he lifted his muzzle and charged at her. No bugle, however he made different noises.

She responded by taking off operating.

At first the whole lot appeared fairly laid-back.

One other feminine regarded on from throughout a swale.

Then all of a sudden the bull was flat-out giving chase.

Just for a second. As she galloped throughout the swale he pulled up.


He watched her go.

Occupied with issues

Then he adopted her throughout the swale…

…and lurked, watching the 2 cows. We waited some time longer, hoping for a bugle, however ultimately we misplaced the sunshine, and a chill settled over the valley. We headed house, our heads full of visions of those majestic animals.

Elk are native to the Smokies, however they have been hunted out of existence right here greater than 100 years in the past. In 2001, 25 elk have been reintroduced to the park. One other 27 have been launched the next 12 months. At this time the elk inhabitants has rebounded to round 200 animals.

Up subsequent: An autumn drive via Nice Smoky Mountains and Cades Cove, the place we noticed bears and turkeys. For a glance again on the gardens of Biltmore Home, click on right here.

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