Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 37

This bull elk is bugling to warn off other bulls; the herd is just out
of sight. Shot with a 300mm photo lens to keep safe distance.
approach only with caution. Don't
test me!" This is the rut.
The road into the park from the
North Carolina side, near Waynesville, begins at Cove Creek off Rt
.276 by I-40-a twisty paved twolane, once the original oxen trail
blazed by ancient settlers. It rises
more and after about 15 minutes
turns to gravel. Some folks freak out
and turn back. Rising upward, crossing the Eastern Continental Divide,
we finally enter the gates of the
Great Smoky Mountain National
Park, now descending toward the
peaceful Cataloochee Valley and a
paved road that extends the length
of the former settlement. Cleared
fields past the campground, hiking
trails and rushing water, the ranger's
house and there they are-the elk.
Elk are larger than the park's
black bears, and can be danger-

Top: Near the Oconaluftee River a bull elk is gathering the herd. Tracking collars
on elk are part of the ongoing environmental assessment program.
Bottom: A calf romps in a meadow near the Oconaluftee River on Cherokee side
of the park.

ous. Female elk with calves have
charged people in defense of their
offspring. Males (bulls) may perceive people as challengers to their
domain and charge. The best way
to avoid these hazards is to keep a
safe distance.
Never touch or move elk calves.
Though they may appear to be orphaned, chances are their mother
is nearby. Cows frequently leave
their newborn calves while they go
off to feed. A calf's natural defense
is to lie down and remain still.
Adult male elk weigh an average of 600-700 pounds. Female elk
-"cows"-average 500 pounds.
Adults are seven to 10 feet long
from nose to tail and stand four to
five feet tall at the shoulder. Adult
males have antlers that may reach
a width of five feet. Elk can live as
long as 15 years.

Elk are vegetarian and eat grasses, forbs and acorns, as well as the
bark, leaves and buds from shrubs
and trees. Elk have an acute sense
of smell and excellent eyesight to
protect them from predators. Coyotes, bobcats and black bears may
kill young, sick or injured elk, but
adult elk are generally safe from
predators in the park. Gray wolves
and mountain lions, both of which
have been extirpated from the
Great Smoky Mountains, are successful predators of elk elsewhere.
Cows usually give birth to only
one calf per year. Newborns weigh
about 35 pounds. They can stand
within minutes of birth and calf
and cow usually rejoin the herd
within a couple of weeks. Calves
nurse for up to seven months. Females are ready to breed in the second autumn of their lives.
September/October 2017 37



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017

Features
Romance, Reunions and Family Fun for Summe
Mountain Summer: A Photo Essay
When Asheville Took over the 1970s’ Paper Dress Fad
Bateaux along the James River
On the Appalachian Trail, the Easy Way
BBQ!
Departments
Letters / Worth a Click
Contributors
From the Editor
Mill Creek Stories
Creature Feature
Mountain Report
The Good Walk
Country Roads
Singing in the Garden
Festivals & Events
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Letters / Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Contributors
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Mill Creek Stories
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - The Good Walk
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Romance, Reunions and Family Fun for Summe
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Mountain Summer: A Photo Essay
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - When Asheville Took over the 1970s’ Paper Dress Fad
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Bateaux along the James River
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - On the Appalachian Trail, the Easy Way
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - BBQ!
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Singing in the Garden
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 72
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_1112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_1112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_1112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20170102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_201612
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20151112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20141112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20131112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20130910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20130708
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com