Smethport Web — by Nathan Muller
A bull elk has staked claim to a farm field along Route 6 between Smethport and Mt. Jewett. He can be seen resting there almost everyday. The area likely provides safe bedding and plenty of fresh browse, which would account for the elk’s long stay.
The animal has been such a common sight for so long that a yellow elk crossing sign has been placed along the roadway. Motorists routinely stop for photos. Even big rigs pull over for a better look. Despite its impressive bulk, the elk has been seen leaping a fence with surprising ease.
A bull elk can weigh up to 1,000 pounds and measure up to 60 inches high at the shoulder. Its antlers can grow as much as 1 inch per day.
The native elk population in Pennsylvania was wiped out from over-hunting more than 100 years ago. The current population comes from the descendants of Rocky Mountain elk brought in by the PA Game Commission between 1913 and 1926, some from Yellowstone National Park.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation estimates that over 700 elk now roam through forests in the north-central part of the state. According to the foundation, there are far more elk throughout the country than at any other time in the last 100 years.