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MailTribune.com
  • Dead elk in Jacksonville was likely not local

  • On Thursday morning, my wife and I saw an elk that had been hit by a car on South Stage Road near Bellinger Lane. I have seen a few elk in the Applegate township area, but this was almost in downtown Jacksonville. Surely there isn't an elk herd in the area. Where did this bull elk come from?
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  • On Thursday morning, my wife and I saw an elk that had been hit by a car on South Stage Road near Bellinger Lane. I have seen a few elk in the Applegate township area, but this was almost in downtown Jacksonville. Surely there isn't an elk herd in the area. Where did this bull elk come from?
    — Steve L., Applegate
    Steve, this poor bachelor elk probably broke off from one of the herds in the nearby Beaver Creek or Little Applegate drainage areas.
    However, it is also possible that he traveled all the way from the more heavily elk-populated areas around Dutchman Peak, Sterling Creek or Mount Ashland, said Mark Vargas, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist.
    "Bulls are solitary or roam in bachelor groups most of the year, except during breeding season in August and September, when they go looking for the herds," Vargas said.
    Last year, there was one elk-versus-vehicle collision along Interstate 5, near Valley of the Rogue State Park, and two along Highway 234. No elk were killed on a state highway in the Jacksonville area last year, according to Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Gary Leaming.
    Although it's sad to see such a majestic beast die in this manner, his passing isn't likely to be mourned by local landowners.
    "Elk can destroy irrigation lines, tear down fences and deplete crops," said Vargas. "Just imagine what they can do to a vineyard. They destroy it, and pear orchards. We've seen elk standing on their hind legs eating every pear they can reach. They're a big animal, and they can eat a lot."
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.
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