We have only live in the North Arkansas area for a little over a year. We have done a little exploring, here and there. One such trip, we were coming from a hike in the upper Buffalo River area, and Andrea noticed that there were deer crossing signs along the road. Andrea pointed out a deer crossing sign that we just passed, and said that the picture of the deer looked really strange. We keep going for a few miles and came across a large herd of elk crossing the road. We had no idea that elk lived in the area. Since we were out hiking to a water fall, I was a carrying my light weight kit that contained mostly wide angle and moderate length telephoto lenses. I did not bring my big lenses…. Sigh.
I have been waiting and planning the best time to photograph the elk since then. The rut is just beginning for the elk now, and they have been observed in the valley most mornings, so we drove down to see what is going on. We arrived in Ponca around 7 am, and the whole valley was covered in thick fog. The 1st shot of the day was the fog from the road as we headed down into the valley.
As we continued on, the fog was so thick, i was worried that we would not get any usable images. We came across a large herd of elk in one field just as we left Ponca. There must have been at least 40-50 elk. One very large bull was bugling chasing other smaller bulls away. After shooting a few frames in the very thick fog, we decided to continue on and look for some of the other herds that have been seen lately.
As we continued south, we saw several bulls roaming around, until we came to a small herd with 7-8 elk, and one large bull that was chasing a few smaller ones around. The best part, was the fog was breaking up, and the sun was just starting to rise over the mountains, beautiful light. We stayed here and watched for about an hour till the elk wandered off. For those of you who might want to know where this herd was on Sunday morning, here are thegps coordinates: 35°57’42” N 93°24’18” W