West Virginians cannot however hunt the elk that roam the state’s southern mountains, but there’s a way to get to see them.
Beginning Sept. 19, the state’s Parks Section will take guests on a series of 19 “elk management tours.” The four-hour tours, which can accommodate up to a dozen guests at a time, commence at Chief Logan State Park and take spot on the nearby Tomblin Wildlife Management Region.
Parks officials started supplying the tours final fall. Sam England, the section’s chief, stated they have been “very common.”
“We sold out virtually just about every tour we had final year,” he added. “One of the items that created them common was that we saw elk just about every time.”
Having to see elk, even though pretty most likely, is not assured. The animals are not penned up they roam freely across the Tomblin tract, which encompasses much more than 32,000 acres of rugged hills and steep-sided valleys in Logan and Mingo counties.
Lauren Cole, the naturalist at Chief Logan, leads the tours.
“She tends to make the knowledge a lot much more than ‘let’s go see an elk,’” England stated. “She explains the ecological advantages the state will reap from reintroducing elk to the landscape, and she explains how managing the land for elk advantages lots of species of animals and birds, each game and non-game.”
In addition to the elk, the Tomblin tract is also household to thriving populations of white-tailed deer, black bears, wild turkeys and other wildlife species.
“The bottom line is that our guests will most likely see elk, but they’ll absolutely see some sort of wildlife,” England stated.
Guests are not permitted to use their personal cars for the tour. Alternatively, they ride in vans driven by park personnel.
“We do that simply because the Tomblin WMA is an active hunting location for the duration of the fall, and as a courtesy to hunters we want to limit visitor activity to distinct areas and instances of the day,” England stated. “Tour guests travel as a group so absolutely everyone has the identical chance to see and study.”
Parks officials have timed the excursions to take benefit of the “rut,” or elk mating season, which requires spot in September and October. Not only are the animals much more active then, they’re also much more vocal. Bull elk “bugle” challenges to one particular yet another, emitting whistle-like bellows that can be heard more than extended distances.
The elk are exceptionally wary of humans, so guests shouldn’t count on to see them “up close and individual.” To improve the viewing knowledge, parks officials encourage guests to bring binoculars, spotting scopes or cameras equipped with strong telephoto lenses.
Each morning and evening tours are scheduled for this fall. Morning tours commence at five:30 a.m. and include things like an “express breakfast.” Afternoon tours commence at four p.m. and include things like a “finger food” snack for every single participant.
Stand-alone tours expense $30 per individual. Parks officials are also supplying $150 package that involves tours and overnight lodging for two, which involves taxes and meals gratuities. Every single tour participant will obtain an elk-themed commemorative medallion.
Guests on the tours should really put on clothes acceptable for the circumstances, and should really put on sturdy, closed-toe footwear or boots for walking up to two miles more than rough terrain. “The management tour is not sitting in a automobile hunting at elk,” Cole stated.
All activities originate at the Chief Logan Lodge and Conference Center, positioned just off Corridor G (U.S. Route 119) in between Chapmanville and Logan. Reservations can be created by calling the lodge straight at 304-855-6100.