Expert: Keep eye out for elk along U.S. Highway 101 near Sequim

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– Drivers along U.S. Highway 101 east of Sequim were advised Wednesday to continue to keep an eye out for the city’s signature elk herd, which was resting in fields just north of the highway that afternoon.

“They’re still within striking distance of the highway,” said Tim Cullinan, wildlife program coordinator with the Point No Point Treaty Council.

Advisory urged

Cullinan urged the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office to issue an advisory for possible elk crossing Tuesday after sensors found that the 27-animal herd of cows, calves and yearlings was moving toward the highway.

The herd headed north toward Sequim Bay for the evening before heading back south toward the highway.

Cullinan, who has been receiving hourly updates of the herd’s location from satellite monitors, assumed its movement was the animals’ annual spring trip north across the highway.

The elk herd has stayed north of Highway 101, foraging in farm fields for the winter, for the past decade or so.

It typically has migrated south toward the Olympic foothills for the summer, returning to the Dungeness Valley to mate in August, Cullinan said.

On Tuesday, Cullinan said, “I thought: ‘This is it. They’re going to cross tonight.’”

But they didn’t.

In patch of grass

Instead, the herd settled down near the Olympic Discovery Trail, and Wednesday afternoon, they were in a patch of grass in Ken and Jane Leuthold’s field off Keeler Road east of Sequim.

“You would think, middle of the night, when there’s no traffic, that would be the time to make the move,” Cullinan said.

________

Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 01. 2013 5:37PM
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