Elk in the Smokies  

TOPIC: Elk in the Smokies....

== 1 of 4 ==
Date: Wed, Jun 11 2008 7:05 pm
From: Gary Smith


Off topic subject, but have any of you that hike in the Smokies run
across any elk?

It was my understanding that some were released in the Smokies
sometime back and just wondering how they are doing.


== 2 of 4 ==
Date: Wed, Jun 11 2008 9:32 pm
From: Kirk Johnson

I've never spent much time in the Smokies myself, but did find the below
recent newspaper article about the Smoky Mounatains elk herd.

We have a fairly sizable herd of several hundred elk in north central PA. To
date the range of the herd does not extend west to the Allegheny National
Forest though.

Also, there's lots of good information about elk around the country on the
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation site:


Kirk Johnson


Hendersonville Times-News [NC]

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cataloochee elk numbers may top 100 this year

By Scott Parrott
Times-News Staff Writer

The Smoky Mountain elk herd, once facing dire odds, could witness its best
year yet in 2008, researchers say.

The number of elk could top 100 for the first time in the Cataloochee Valley
on the eastern end of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Researchers expect as many as 25 calves could be born in the coming weeks,
the best calving season since the elk were reintroduced into the valley in

The news comes as researchers conduct the final year of an experimental
reintroduction, which will determine whether the elk remain in the national

³This should be a monumental year for the Smoky Mountain herd,² elk
researcher Joe Yarkovich wrote in a recent progress report. ³Many of the
younger females were old enough to breed last fall and we are expecting to
have more calves hitting the ground in 2008 than any other previous year.²

Once nothing more than an entry in the history books, elk returned to the
Smokies as an experiment. Eastern elk were driven into extinction by
overhunting and habitat loss in the 1800s, leaving behind no trace other
than namesakes ‹ Banner Elk, Elk Park.

Most of today¹s Smoky Mountain elk are cousins brought in from Canada and
Kentucky through the experimental reintroduction. The Rocky Mountain Elk
Foundation, the Friends of the Smokies and the Great Smoky Mountains
Association covered the $1.1 million price tag to reintroduce 52 elk to
Cataloochee ‹ 25 in 2001 and 27 in 2002.

The future of the herd appeared in jeopardy as late as 2005, as its
population lingered around the mid-50s mainly because of coyotes and black
bears killing calves. The national park extended the experiment¹s deadline
three more years, and the result has been impressive.

³We¹ve had better breeding success, better calf survival and better
male-female ratios,² said Bob Miller of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
³We¹re really beyond worried about them going extinct.²

The herd witnessed a turnaround as cows adapted and protected their calves
from predators. The elk also received help from human hands, as particularly
troublesome bears were relocated to another side of the park. The bears
would later walk back to Cataloochee, but the relocation bought the calves
enough time to survive. Between 80 and 85 adult elk now call the valley

³I think we¹ve shown that the herd can grow, and they all seem to be in
pretty good health,² Yarkovich said. ³We¹ve still got a ton of public
support for it, and as long as the herd keeps growing I think the program¹s
going to be a success here.²

Later this year, the University of Tennessee will provide the park research
information to help determine whether the elk stay or go ‹ whether the
experiment failed or proved successful.

³Officially I can¹t tell you the herd is here to stay, but things look
pretty bright for our future,² Yarkovich said.

== 4 of 4 ==
Date: Wed, Jun 11 2008 9:36 pm
From: James Parton


Hiking in Cataloochee valley, elk are often seen, especially if you
are near the fields. They are a big attraction there and people appear
in droves to see them. Elk are often seen in fields outside of
Cherokee as well.

James P.

TOPIC: Elk in the Smokies....

== 1 of 4 ==
Date: Thurs, Jun 12 2008 3:59 am
From: "Will Blozan"


Jess and I have named a tree after them!


== 2 of 4 ==
Date: Wed, Jun 11 2008 7:18 pm
From: Randy Brown

Ya mean these Elk? ;)

elk-2.jpg (303537 bytes)
cataloocheeelfa.jpg (33794 bytes)

I was down in Cataloochee last fall during the rut and got a lot of
pictures (you have to go in the evening to see them -the same meadow
was dead empty in the morning). They also had a couple of rangers
there to make sure the people behaved. I forget how many they said
there are (200?)

== 3 of 4 ==
Date: Thurs, Jun 12 2008 6:31 am
From: dbhguru@comcast.net


Yes, last year Will, Monica, and I ran into a bulk elk on a trail near Big Creek. There are plenty in Cataloochee Valley.


== 4 of 4 ==
Date: Thurs, Jun 12 2008 6:09 pm
From: JamesRobertSmith

Cataloochee is packed with them. I see them every time I go there. In
the fields of course, but also in the forests, too.