Did you know that the Buffalo National River is home to Arkansas’ only elk herd? And right here in the heart of Buffalo River Country is where you can find large groups of our beautiful Searcy County Elk.
One of the best places to view elk is just a few minutes from the Buffalo River Outfitters store. Right off the southwest side of Highway 65 between our store and Marshall, Arkansas there is an open field where you can often see a large herd of elk grazing in the distance. Woolum access on the Buffalo National River is another popular site for elk watching, and during the 2018 season we even had some sightings at our cabins!
How did elk come to be here?
A sub-species of elk called Eastern Elk was originally native to the state of Arkansas. The Eastern Elk population was fully extirpated from the state by the late 1840s, and they became completely extinct by the beginning of the 20th century. Elk were re-introduced to the Buffalo National River Corridor in 1981 by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The Elk Restoration Project placed 112 Rocky Mountain Elk in the Buffalo River region that year. Over 500 descendants of those animals can be found near the Buffalo River today.
When is the best time to observe Searcy County Elk?
Mating season for elk is usually in late September and early October. This is when elk are most active. They can sometimes be found crossing roads and rivers, so be cautious. The best practices for viewing Searcy County Elk is to come late in the evening or early in the morning. Right in those golden hours are the best time to see these beautiful animals.
Want to learn more about our local elk herd? Come to the store if you have any questions or comments— we would love to help and listen! You can also call us at 870-439-2200, from 8am-6pm every day. Happy Elk watching!