Elk sightings on the rise in Iowa

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is reporting an uptick in elk sightings throughout the state.

The DNR’s Mick Klemesrud tells Brownfield elk have certainly been seen in Iowa before, but it seems to be happening more frequently. “We’re trying to figure out where they are coming from,” he said. “They might be out looking for new cows to meet, and of course there are none in Iowa, so they just kind of keep wandering through.”

Klemesrud says most of the elk sightings have occurred in the western portion of the state. “We know Nebraska has a growing elk population and we know there is a large elk population in the Black Hills in South Dakota,” he said.

He says it can be an exciting experience to see an elk in-person, but warns the public should not try to get close to them.

“These are not the full-grown bulls. They are juveniles,” Klemesrud said. “They aren’t quite the massive 800-pound animals that you’d get with a full-grown elk, but they are about 400 pounds. To put that in comparison, our big 5-year-old male whitetail deer in November would maybe top 250 (pounds).”

Klemesrud says elk are protected under Iowa law and cannot be hunted.

“Enjoy it. Take a picture of it,” he said. “We don’t have an established elk herd and we have no plans of reestablishing one. Just enjoy the encounter with these juvenile elk.”

Learn more by listening to Klemesrud’s full interview below on the latest episode of the Outdoor Adventures radio program on Brownfield.

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