Just Look at You Now Mr. Elk…

A mother elk and her babies eating in a feeding field; photo by Morris Pike.

A mother elk and her babies eating in a clear-cut on the Roman V Ranch in Northwest Oregon; photo by Morris Pike.

Hooray for the elk

More than 750,000 elk live in Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming alone and since there were only 41,000 elk in the whole of North America in 1907, that’s good. Theodore Roosevelt championed saving the elk in the 1880s by creating the National Park system. Three groups that are championing elk today are loggers, hunters and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation members. Teddy would be pleased.

Hooray for the Loggers

Elk need the food that grows in clear-cuts, the nearness of tall timber to hide from predators (primarily people), and streams of cool clear water. The Oregon Forest Practices Act of 1971 assures all three. In fact, they’ve almost done too good a job because they are becoming over populated.

Hooray for the Hunters

Oregon is listed as one of the five best states for elk hunting ( www.wideopenspaces.com). That isn’t surprising since in 1937, Oregon hunters actually requested an 11% tax on guns, ammo and bows and arrows for wildlife conservation.  Today those taxes  have raised more than $8 billion.

Hooray for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Four guys from northwest Montana, recognized that though a handful of organizations did great work for species like ducks, turkeys and upland birds, no one was dedicated to the grandest big game animal of all. They pooled their time, talent and resources in 1984 to create an organization dedicated to elk, elk hunting and the habitat the elk need to thrive. Today this leading conservation organization has protected or enhanced habitat on more than 6.8 million acre. http://www.rmef.org/Oregon

Find places to view elk by visiting http://www.great-oregon-vacations.com/oregon-elk.html

-Jan Jackson

Lead photo: An adult bull Roosevelt elk. Adults grow 6 – 10 feet in length, stand 2.5 – 5 feet high and weigh 700- 1100 pounds. Photo taken at Northwest Trek by Marvin Kellar.

 

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Forest Keeping · Wildlife

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