Elk sighting at Cataloochee #WW

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Hello, kittens & dawgs! Earlier this spring while exploring on one of our many Saturday day trips, we came upon this pleasant view.

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Cataloochee, North Carolina

In 2001, the National Park Service (NPS) reintroduced 27 elk into the North Carolina side of the Smoky Mountains. North American elk population was close to extinction by 1900 because of over-hunting and loss of habitat according to the NPS. One can’t perceive how big these animals are until seen with the eye. They are bigger than black bears and are aggressive beasts if they feel threatened or challenged.

I really wanted to stand outside the car to snap the above picture but DH said to stay in the car. I thought the distance was fine but I really know to not get outside the car to view animals in the wild, even if it seems safe. The temptation is strong, but things can happen quicker than you think before you have time to react, so getting the shot from inside the car with the window down is good enough for me. That being said, did you know this tidbit:

Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces elk, is illegal in the park. Violation of this federal regulation can result in fines and arrest. Do not enter fields to view elk—remain by the roadside and use binoculars, telephoto lens, or a spotting scope to view the animals.

Who knew, right? Not me.  It’s been quite common in recent years to see a herd of elk crossing the road in front of us several car lengths away, but never this close.

 

 

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image captured with iPhone4

 

We just happened upon a half-dozen elk grazing beside the road going toward Heintooga campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Cherokee. It was so amazing. I took this a month after my surgery for an acute case of diverticulitis. Twisting to get the right shot was uncomfortable, but I got it anyway. The adrenalin rush blocked the pain. I guess there’s a bit of a “real” photographer in me after all. 😀 It’s safe to say the release program is a success given our first-hand encounters.  In the below video is it mentions Oconaluftee. This is where we have sighted elk every time we’ve been to the mountains lately.

 

 

 

Summer is a low peak for many bloggers, so I decided to dispense with my featured photographer highlight until September. Also, I plan on being less active with posts throughout summer. The break in schedule will do me good. What I hope to do is have fun reading blogs and making new friends without the pressure of composing posts every day. I have some scheduled posts in cue and if I feel the urge to create then I will. Meanwhile, thanks for making me apart of your day!

Have a fototastic day! ~borrowed~

Have a fototastic day! ~borrowed~

 

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23 thoughts on “Elk sighting at Cataloochee #WW

  1. Arlee Bird

    I’ve seen elk in places like Yellowstone, but never around the Smokies. Very cool.

    Funny you should make the summer cutback announcement on this post. I’ve got a very similar announcement on my post for tomorrow. Cutting back only makes sense in the summer.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin’ with A to Z
    Tossing It Out

    Reply
    1. Cathy Kennedy Post author

      Lee, the elk aren’t out in droves and usually we see them on rare occasions in late afternoon to early evening or really early in the morning. After watching the video, I believe most of the times we’ve seen them has been in the fall, except for that time in 2013 which was in early July. In the past, I never thought much about cutting back during the summer, but last year visits were few & return visits even fewer. I totally get people like being away from their computers, but if they are posting and someone leaves a comment then response back would be the polite thing to do. I try to not let those sorts of things bother me, After all, I’m here doing this because I enjoy it. Oh well…enjoy your time this summer being less busy in Blogosphere.

      Reply
    1. Cathy Kennedy Post author

      Romi, these are pretty amazing creatures to see up close. I never knew how big they were until I saw them the first time and I was in total awe.

      Reply
    1. Cathy Kennedy Post author

      Deb, I would love to visit Yellowstone! I hope y’all get a chance to see elk out west. Spotting wild life in and around the Smoky’s isn’t abundant, so when we did catch a peek then it’s an exciting thrill. I think it was this same day that we also saw a black bear on the road, but we were driving too fast, which startled it, and we couldn’t slow down in time to snap a picture. He was a big one, too. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
    1. Cathy Kennedy Post author

      Sue, this is the first time we’d been to Cataloochee, so I’m not sure how frequent the elk are spotted in that part of the park. This is the point they were introduced, so you’d think they’d tend to stay nearby. However, we have spotted them several times over the years near the visitors center on the NC side of the Smoky’s in Cherokee and it was our first time seeing them close to Heintooga. Usually it was late afternoon to early evening when we saw the elk, expect when we were at Heintooga and I think that was in the early morning hours. Best of luck catching a glimpse of these magnificent creatures!

      Reply
  2. Rorybore

    amazing!! I think it’s such a sad thing that we don’t have more encounters with animals like this on a daily basis. I mean, I know there are safety issues of course, but just imagine that once upon a time we roamed the wilds with them, and probably managed to live in harmony.

    cat selfie! LOL
    oh but I did that the other day.. and it truly does give you a fright!

    Reply
    1. Cathy Kennedy Post author

      Les, I’m sure people long ago did stupid things, but not deliberately. The lack of common sense and good judgement are two characteristics that are slowly fading from our society making people more vulnerable and less powerful. That’s the sad truth. Oh yeah, when I use my iPhone camera I find the focus turned toward me often and I always gasp. lol

      Reply
    1. Cathy Kennedy Post author

      Stephen, yes they can be. I see people doing some pretty dumb stuff all the time when these big animals are around. There is no limit to someone’s stupidity.

      Reply
  3. XmasDolly

    Ooooooooooooo Bambi??? ~hehehe~ Cool video and love the pic. Man, wouldn’t that be cool to look out your window and see that? Thanks for sharing. Sorry I’m so late. I’m so behind. HUGS

    Reply

Put a smile on my face, leave a comment! Have a purrfect day!