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Elk watching


This large herd of elk in Huntington Canyon on SR-31 create a bit of attention each evening as they come out to feed.

The large herd of elk in Huntington Canyon in and around the Rocky Mountain Power research farm causes a bit of excitement for county residents.

Many people pull off the highway and watch the majestic creatures from the comfort of their vehicles. They can be seen with spotting scopes and binoculars looking for the big bulls and maybe even counting to see how many there are in the field. The bulls still have their horns intact for now and will usually lose them around the end of March and the first part of April. The best time for elk viewing is late afternoon when they move into the fields to feed before dark.

Southeastern Utah division of wildlife resources director, Derris Jones said, "There are usually about 200-300 elk that use the area from the coal mine down to the Stump Flat area for winter range. They used to have a game proof fence along that property, but if the elk are using that property then that's good it keeps them out of the farms below."

Wintering elk can cause problems for local farmers because they like to come into the fields and will even eat right out of the haystacks.

The elk this winter seem to be wintering really well because they are tough and hardy creatures. Many of them are still at elevations of 8,000 and above and they haven't been forced down into the valley because the winter has been relatively mild so far.

The elk are also plentiful around Soldier Summit and there have been a couple hit, but not as bad as in some years. Jones cautions drivers to be aware as spring approaches the elk will stand right by the roadside to eat the new grass as it comes in along the roads. This is the worst time for the elk to be struck by vehicles.

Another popular elk viewing area is up the Gordon Creek road in Carbon County on any given weekend 20-30 vehicles will stop and watch the elk in that area.

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