See Virginia’s Elk Population – In Person or Online
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources is offering elk viewing tours this fall. The tours for the public are offered in partnership with Breaks Interstate Park in Virginia’s elk country, Buchanan County. Guides conduct the evening bus tours that travel through private lands, to view elk habitats that are otherwise inaccessible to the public. The tours are offered October 4th, 18th and 25th and begin at 5pm. The tours meet at Southern Gap Outdoor Adventures in Grundy, Virginia and last two to three hours. You must pre-register through the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources website at https://dwr.virginia.gov
Breaks Interstate Park also offers elk tours on select Fridays and Saturdays. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Tickets can be purchased at the Breaks Interstate Park website at www.breakspark.com
If you don’t want to be part of a tour, viewing stations are also available. Three stations are open at the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority property near Poplar Gap Community Park in Grundy, Virginia. Each viewing station is located on a different area of the property.
If you want to watch elk from the comfort of your own home, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources has an elk cam. The camera is in Buchanan County and is focused on a field frequented by elk, especially in the early morning and in the evening around dusk. Later in the fall, the elk will also be visible at other times of the day. Go to https://dwr.virginia.gov and search “elk cam”.
Elk are a native part of the Virginia wildlife community. Lack of regulations and over-hunting led to the harvest of the last elk in Virginia in 1855. A restoration effort in the early 1900s eventually failed in 1970. In 1997, 1,500 Rocky Mountain Elk were restored in Eastern Kentucky and now there are over 13,000 elk there. In 2012, Virginia began an elk restoration program and the Virginia herd now numbers more than 250. Elk are found throughout an Elk Management Zone in Virginia comprised of Buchanan, Dickenson and Wise counties.