Our Visiting Friend


During the winter of 2003, an elk calf got separated from her herd when they came through the 101 Ranch.  She stayed with our cows for a few days and then spent the remainder of the winter with a group of deer near here.  We think Ellie was that calf.  She showed up again in late September 2004 and adopted a group of our cows.  She’s still with us today.

She won’t leave the cows and has been in the corrals many times.  We’ve tried to leave her behind in the pasture and she’ll have nothing to do with that and sneaks back in.  She doesn’t really like to jump fences, but if pressured or the grass is greener on the other side, will do it.

Ellie has been with us for 10 years now.  She sometimes changes the groups and seems to like the females more than the bulls.  No, she’s never had a calf, but came into season one time.  She tried to entice the wrong kind of bull.  We’ve had wild elk across the fence from her and she has gone over the fence to visit, but has always come back to our cows.

Ellie is a wild animal and has the choice to leave any time she wants to.  We’ve been asked by several hunters if they can shoot her.  They’re usually told, no, not unless you want to get shot!  Every hunting season we keep our fingers crossed. 

Many people, including Fish & Game officers, drive the 101 Loop Road to see her.  We have a group of senior citizens from Hagerman that call to see where she is on the ranch.  Going on Ellie drives is at the top of their list!

Ellie seems to get gentler each year.  If in a vehicle or a 4 wheeler, it’s easy to get within 50 feet of her.  If feeding, she will get within 20 feet before she moves.  When in the corrals, we use a little elk psychology and give an escape route to a group we’re not working.

Below you’ll see two amazing photos of her ancestors at work.  Enjoy.

This unusual photo shows a pair of elk with impressive antlers hitched to a buggy belonging to C. H. Shields.  It was taken near Edgelay, North Dakota.  The term “Wapiti” is a Shawnee term meaning “white rump.”  Photographed in 1893 by Hiram H. Wilcox.