This bull elk is the first to wander into the Palmetto State in over 200 years!
South Carolina isn’t the type of place one would expect to see a bull elk. And with good reason, the last one disappeared there sometime before the birth of the U.S.!
Until now, that is. A 2.5-year-old bull elk has been sighted in Pickens County after it apparently wandered across the border from neighboring North Carolina. The young bull was first sighted last Friday at a camp on U.S. 178 and has become something of a celebrity in the area since.
“If you had settled in South Carolina back in the late 1600s you would have had an abundance of elk,” Carl Walsh, the president of South Carolina’s Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Chapter told Greenville Online. “But our forefather shot them all out for clothing or food. And we haven’t had an elk in 275 years.”
That would be the year 1741, some 35 years before the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War began.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is monitoring the situation along with an excited public. The feeling of most the experts and public is the young elk likely came from a herd in North Carolina.
“He’s a younger elk I’d say he got kicked out of the herd in Cherokee and is wandering, looking for another herd and has gotten lost,” said Caleb Cassell, who encountered the elk on Eastatoe Creek Road in the northern part of the county.
Under South Carolina law, shooting an elk in the state is illegal. At the time there were only occasional rumors of the animals being in the Palmetto State. “We’ve had reports before,” said Capt. Robert McCullough of the SC DNR. “This is the first time I’m aware of that we have confirmed one that had wandered down.”
Residents hoping for a new herd to be established will have to cross their fingers and hope some more elk wander across the border. For now, there’s the chance the bull might wander away in search of a cow.
“Hopefully next time he’ll bring a female with him and we can establish a small herd here in South Carolina,” Walsh told Greenville Online.
It seems every year a few elk go off wandering and find themselves in areas they aren’t normally or haven’t been found in years. Earlier this month a bull elk wandered away from the normal confined ranges in Michigan to a new area in the middle part of the state.