As ‘elk viewing’ season starts to ramp up we’ve been asked to remind everyone of a few basic elk viewing etiquette guidelines. These were submitted by fellow elk viewers like you as well as local property & business owners with both you and the elk’s well-being in mind.
First, don’t stop in the middle of the road and block traffic in order to view the elk. This is a recipe for disaster when your stopped and the persons driving behind you is likely distracted by the elk as well. Also, tempers can get a little testy when roads are fully blocked on both sides (and this happens all to often) and passers through are delayed by elk watchers. If there are designated parking areas please use them otherwise make sure you are not overly hindering the flow of traffic.
Next, don’t get too close to the elk. Although the elk in PA, and especially Benezette, seem tame they are still wild animals and are highly unpredictable. The last thing anyone needs is for a 500+ lb. animal charging them from close range. Elk are very fast and very powerful and one shot from one of them can do serious damage.
Also, please be respectful of property owners and their land. This is a very trying time for land owners in the popular elk areas as a lot of folks treat the entire area as if it is open to the public. No one enjoys having unwanted guests at their home or on their land so please don’t become one just to see an elk. This means that private yards and driveways are not meant to be parking spots or areas to enter to see elk. Keep your distance and only enter designated elk viewing areas. And remember, just because it does not say ‘No Trespassing’ does not mean it is open to the public.
Finally, don’t feed the elk or other wildlife. This creates numerous issues for the wildlife ranging from them developing a dependence on humans for food all the way to illness or death related to non native foods.
Elk viewing and photography can be both exciting and exhilarating and at times can cause us to act in ways we would not under normal day to day circumstances. That’s why we all need to make extra sure that we are doing our part to keep ourselves and the animals safe. Be courteous to those around you whether on foot or while driving and above all else enjoy the elk in a safe, smart way.