As you drive through Sequim, on Hwy 101, it is common to see the “elk lights” flashing. This signifies the presence of Roosevelt Elk in Sequim, specifically within the vicinity and activates a few of their tracking devices. Elk can be elusive, often obscured by trees, happily grazing, or sipping water from a pond. When you do see the main herd in East Sequim, it is usually less than twenty, made up of a few bulls, cows, and calves. There is another elk herd, made up of bachelors, as I call them. Presently, there are seven in the West Sequim herd. It is estimated there are 5,000 Roosevelt Elk in the Olympic Mountains. Only the Sequim herds are protected from hunting. For more information about these magnificent animals, see link below:
I have seen the elk in various locations while driving on Hwy 101, off of Palo Alto Road (East Sequim), and also on Happy Valley (West Sequim). They are often seen in the same fields and locations in the Spring and Summer months. This changes in Fall and Winter coinciding with their mating season.
This herd was seen just North off of Palo Alto Road, in Sequim.
More of the herd, this time South off of Palo Alto Road, in Sequim.
This bull has been seen regularly with the East Sequim herd.
While they are magnificent creatures, it is wise to keep your distance. At times this may not be possible. It is then advised to remain calm and move slowly away from them. I found myself in this position very recently.
On the afternoon of July 4th , 2015, I headed out of my driveway to go grocery shopping. I was stopped almost immediately by the greeting of a neighbor in his passing SUV. He stopped, so I parked and got out to speak with him. We chatted for a few minutes and he pulled away. I turned in great surprise to see seven majestic Roosevelt Elk staring at me, not 50 feet away! They had been obscured by that SUV. I slowly backed up to my car, retrieved my camera, and took a few photos. I was very cautious about my movements, so I wouldn’t startle them. They crossed the road and entered my field, where they grazed for a few hours.
Later that night, amidst the noise of explosive fireworks, I heard a loud rustling sound. Peering out my kitchen window, I could see the elk ravenously eating branches off one of my largest trees. One was up on his hind legs accomplishing this feat! They were illuminated by the flashes of light from the distant fireworks. The loud explosions and noise obviously disturbed them, so they bedded down behind that tree. I imagined them feeling safe and cozy there.
There are plenty of people who claim they must be legends or ghosts, having never caught a glimpse of them, I assure you they are real and can be seen in person. It helps to know a local Sequimite… On that, you are invited to come see our Roosevelt Elk in Sequim!