WA - They follow the Herds ??
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Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 805

 Posted: November 17th, 2008 04:08 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

Firstly, thanks Nav for reminding me & for this Sub Forum..

I've heard ( no pun intended ) it mentioned so much that they " follow the Herds " of Elk & have done a little research ( well as much as i can from the Internet i feel anyway ) on the Herds just to maybe try to get an understanding of how, where & when they move..

Here's some info i found out just by using Google for a few hours..

Not sure if we can Post links to Hunting Sites so i won't, i'll just C&P little tidbits of information that i think may be informative..


Cascade Mountains Elk

The geographic break that forms the spine separating east from west in Washington and Oregon is home to a boatload of elk.

by Doug Rose

There are more settings in which to hunt elk in the Northwest than in any other area of the country. They can be found in the arid shrub/steppe of the Columbia Basin; they can be found in the drizzly, tangled forest of the Olympic Peninsula. They range the sagebrush and bitterbrush flats of Oregon's high desert, and are native to the coast ranges, the Siskiyous.

But most elk hunters think of elk as mountain animals, and the slopes of Washington and Oregon's Cascade Mountains remain the region's classic elk hunting destination. During autumn, archery, muzzleloader and centerfire rifle hunters attempt to intercept them on the lower slopes of the Cascades, as they migrate back down to the upper edges of the lowlands to their winter range.

"Most of our elk move to the east side of the Cascades crest in late spring to calve," said Larry Cooper, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife big-game section chief. "They summer on the east side, then move to the west slope in the winter. But some elk in the southern part of Cascades migrate south."

There is some question as to whether elk actually inhabited the high slopes of the Cascade Mountains. Roosevelt elk, the slightly larger, darker and more herd-oriented subspecies native to coastal Washington and Oregon, are well documented in the low-elevation river valleys of the Olympic Peninsula rivers, southwest Washington and the Oregon Coast. But most of the higher elevations were barren of elk when white settlers entered the region in the mid-19th century. Rocky Mountain from Montana and Idaho were transplanted to sites on both sides of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon by the turn of the century, however, and today elk range the length of the Cascades.

Although small, isolated elk herds can be found in many areas of the western Cascade foothills, huntable populations are limited to a handful of large areas, where many sub-herds create a large number of animals. On the north, the Nooksack herd of Whatcomb County has languished at low numbers in recent years, and it has remained off-limits to hunting. The first good concentration of elk occurs in the area surrounding Mount Rainier. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife manages the Rainier elk herds separately as "north" and "south" herds. The Mount St. Helens herd is the next major elk complex to the south, and in recent years it has supported the largest and most targeted elk population in western Washington.

The North Rainier herd sprawls over more than 2,800 square miles, primarily in King and Pierce counties, and it is available to hunters in the Snoqualmie, Stampede, Cedar River, White River and Mashel game management units.

For the most part, North Rainier elk are migratory, spending the summer and early autumn in excess of 7,000 feet in the north portion of Mount Rainier National Park, then descending via river corridors and low passes into the western valleys of the Cedar River, White River and Mashel units as the snow arrives.

Since 1989, the population of the North Rainier herd has fallen off dramatically, from an estimated 3,400 to 1,845. The largest declines have occurred in the Green River and Cedar River units. "We are trying to recover the sub-herd in the Green River drainage," said Jerry Nelson, WDFW elk and deer program manager. The White River and Mashel units have remained the most stable.

The South Rainier herd inhabits a smaller area - about 1,100 square miles - than the northern herd, south and west of the national park. Its range includes portions of the Stormking, South Rainier, Packwood and Skookumchuck units. South Rainier elk are largely migratory, wintering in the upper Cowlitz and Cispus river valleys. However, growing numbers now spend the entire year below 3,000 feet, and are essentially "resident" elk.

The combined elk population of the South Rainier, Stormking and Packwood units declined from about 3,800 animals in 1994 to an estimated 1,700 in 1998, although that number appears to have stabilized since then. Around 400 elk winter in the Skookumchuck Unit. The population objective for the three Region 5 units is 2,500 elk, raising the herd number to around 3,000.

The elk herds associated with Mount St. Helens comprise the largest complex of elk in the Washington Cascades, and they sprawl over 16 GMUs. Like the elk of Mount Rainier herds, they are largely migratory, summering in the high country on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Mount St. Helens National Monument. The lower elevation areas of the Lewis River, Marble, Margaret, Winston and Toutle units are popular wintering areas for the elk. Although the St. Helens herd numbers about 12,500 elk, the WDFW wants to increase it to 15,000. The conversion of former national forest timberlands into old growth reserves threatens to diminish the productivity of the upper reaches of the area, while recent access restrictions on Weyerhaeuser's Mount St. Helens Tree Farm have changed the nature of the hunting in lower elevation areas.


Washington State
Evergreen State hunters who plan to target Roosevelt elk can improve their odds by heading to the southwest corner of the state.

The Mount St. Helens herd is now the state's largest and currently above its management objective of 10,000 elk. During recent seasons, Region 5 has actually turned out more elk than even the celebrated Yakima herd.

The reason for Region 5's good numbers is simple: An active timber harvest rotation creates openings, which produce the grasses and forbs elk consume, and mid- to older stands of trees that provide cover.


& below is some good information on Elk Herds on the Olympic Peninsula..



As is true for many species of deer, especially those in mountainous regions, elk migrate into areas of higher altitude in the spring, following the retreating snows, and the opposite direction in the fall. Hunting pressure also impacts migration and movements.[41] During the winter, they favor wooded areas and sheltered valleys for protection from the wind and availability of tree bark to eat. Roosevelt elk are generally non-migratory due to less seasonal variability of food sources


Here's a very informative PDF about them..



So if they do follow the Herds, which i think many agree they do, then let's being informed as much as we can about them..

Hope you find this informative everyone.

I have a feeling something BIG is gonna happen withn the world of the Big Guy soon.. Just a hunch of course..

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 53

 Posted: December 14th, 2008 01:56 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

SW Washington has small elk herds viewable along some rural highways. SR 4 between US 101 and Cathlamet on the Columbia River offers several spots to see them at times, winter or summer. The herd we like often appears in the Grays River lowland where Fossil Creek Road goes off to the north. The end of Long Beach Peninsula in Pacific County has a herd of elk associated with Leadbetter Point State Park. A herd of elk lives on Long Island, in Willapa Bay. I believe bow hunters can go in and harvest them in the fall. I saw two cow elk crash down in front of me at midnight just south of the Wllapa Bay Wildlife Center in August. I had to brake for them as they came down off the blackberry snarled embankment above the highway and out onto the little tideland below the highway. I was wondering what spooked them at this time of night to the point they would jump blindly onto the highway. Later I went back to the center and walked the mile or so above the highway, in the alder and higher up the Doug fir and hemlock. The elk beds in under the big trees were everywhere. It is a no hunting area in there, I think, unless they open it to bow hunters as they do on the nearby Long Island (it is six miles long and a mile wide in places, with stands of old growth cedar). Friends of mine who spend time on Long Island told us recently that five years or so ago they were having lunch on the west side of the island when they were startled by huge growling screams, followed by several basketball size boulders being thrown out onto the beach nearby through the branches of some of the conifer trees near the beach. They looked at the rocks and decided no person could throw such rocks. They left to eat lunch on their boat. They told a few of their acquaintances about it and were roundly jeered and teased. I believe them.
usfs brushape

Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 9

 Posted: April 9th, 2009 04:21 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

I can tell you, it is very probable that they follow the herds. the vocalization I heard and the possible track I found, was right on a game trail near my house in Eatonville, Wa.
In honour of the memory of Dr. Grover S. Krantz

Joined: May 2009
Posts: 18

 Posted: May 25th, 2009 06:59 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

Its a good theory, but I think more accurately is they have seasonal grounds, like the herds...come down lower in winter, and graduly head back up to the cooled levels in the heat of the summer. It just so happens they coinside with each other.

It would be tough for the huge hairy guy to withstand 80-90 degree heat and not have a place to go...

I have an area of research that tracks them from Mt.Rainier to the South, down to about the 2000' level in the North and they definatly roam with the weather as do the herds...
Go Big, Or Go Home...

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 34

 Posted: August 4th, 2009 12:23 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

I imagine they would be like other large predatory mammals. Food prevails. Where ever the food is, THAT is where they would be. Winter is coming, and its known.

When its getting this late in the season, where are the bears? Food is key.
Portate bien o te lleva el cucuy<br />

Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 761

 Posted: January 5th, 2010 09:42 AM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

So I am pretty late on the discussion here - but
I compared the location of the Elk Herds on the Olympic Pen from Simplicity -
and there have been 10 total sightings in the area. 4 in the fall, 5 in the SUmmer & 1 in the Spring.

Then I looked at the Mt. Rainier area - 6 sightings. 3 in the Summer, 1 in the Fall & 2 in the Spring.
~Bigfoot takes pictures of Chuck Norris~

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 88

 Posted: January 24th, 2010 05:44 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

I do know of a road that closes, out by Cushman, from the end of September until April every year to protect migrating elk herds. This leaves a good chunk of low-elevation state and nat'l forest land abbutting the ONP, repleat with marshes, swamps, little creeks, lakes and eventually Hood Canal (two-strides across the 101 and it's oysters, clams and whatever else time!) - motorist-free for basically half the year!

Out of about 20-days I have ventured by that road to fish a particular lake there in the spring, one day I witnessed twist-snaps all along the trail to the lake (wow!), and another day I had an individual very obviously taking a few bi-pedal steps (occasional branch-pop on footfall) here and there, up a slope, back in the woods maybe a hundred feet, for a couple hours, just checking me out. Meanwhile, there was a group of elk in a thicket on a point by the shore, clustered and holding their position the whole while. I even went over to the same shore and hooked some nice cutties - what I'd give to see the look on the observers face..

Up a creek without a doubt

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 108

 Posted: February 12th, 2010 06:17 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

I would not be surprised if they do follow the elk herds. Would also think they follow the salmon runs and the berry crops. I think they eat what ever is available at the time including leftovers from people camping. Just a thought
"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." Henry David Thoreau

Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 254

 Posted: April 13th, 2012 03:42 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

I am not surprised. I've personally heard stories from local outdoors people that take place on or near a game trail. In one story, the 'squatch was actually following the game trail.

"History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous." --Jean-Luc Picard, U.S.S. Enterprise

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 884

 Posted: April 17th, 2012 04:09 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

I have to agree with 1Sunseeker. There are places with no elk that still have sasquatch sightings. Berries and salmon make good food sources too. There are even stories of them eating mice. I think they are very oportunistic eaters as well. Especially in areas where humans have encroached upon their habitat.
May the Forest Be With You.


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