The Elk Herd of the Buffalo National River
Elk also provide recreational value, both for those who prefer to watch wildlife as well as those who hunt elk. Buffalo National River provides suitable habitat for elk and the herd now numbers nearly 500 animals.
Elk have free range and can be seen at several different locations in and near the river. Usually the easiest place to view elk is along the six miles of Hwy 43 and Hwy 21 through Boxley Valley. Wildlife viewers should pull completely off the road so that they don’t impede traffic flow. If you get out of your car, watch for traffic. This is a through highway and not everyone is interested in the wildlife.
If it is summer then you can assume that elk will probably be hanging out under the shade of a tree, along the river’s edge, in order to survive the heat of the day. Elk sightings are frequently made when the sun is off the fields and elk come out to graze, either before sunrise or after sunset. You will have a better than average chance of seeing elk in the fields during the autumn months of October and November. This is called the rutting season and the bull elk have large antlers to show off to their harems of cow elk, other bulls, and the audience of spectators along the fence line. In the winter an all-day cold spell may provide the opportunity to see elk anytime of the day.
BEST ELK VIEWING TIMES: Just after sunrise or before sunset.
WHERE TO FIND ELK: In the fields of the Boxley Valley along Highway 43, south of Ponca. Also, on Highway 21, from the Hwys 43 & 21 junction, and south toward the Buffalo River Trail trailhead.
Click HERE to learn More