NewsIdaho Back Roads


Elk move into foothills

Some residents surprised, others used to the animals
Posted at 5:29 PM, Feb 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-23 21:02:46-05

April Neale moved to her home in the Boise foothills just two years ago. She has seen deer in the open space just below her deck near Table Rock, but she was surprised when a herd of elk started moving in.

"It's just telling me that there must be a ton of snow up in the mountains because we never see elk," said Neale. "We see a ton of deer, you know they do drive-bys in the neighborhood and eat all of the roses, but these were definitely not deer."

Jim Weimer was not surprised at all. He has been tracking elk that move into the area during his thirty years in the neighborhood, especially when snow hits.

"There's usually anywhere from fifty to two hundred fifty that come down during the winter time, hunting for food," said Weimer.

Weimer says during the day the elk stay in the hills just north, but in the evening "they come down and they find their food, whatever they can get."

Fish and Game Deer and Elk Coordinator Daryl Meints says this is part of the elks' traditional winter range, and people who now live where the elk have roamed for years should keep some things in mind.

"One of the biggest things we encourage people to do is enjoy wildlife from a distance," said Meints. "Use your binoculars and your spotting scope. This time of year don't make them run or walk because they'll just be burning energy that they don't need to."

But people aren't the only one who can stress the elk. Pets, especially dogs can stress the animals and put their own well being at risk.

Neale's observations make such a scenario seem likely. "I have a clear shot of this hill," said Neale. "Nobody has their dog on a leash ever."

One more thing; if you live in the area and landscape with a plant call Japanese Yew, you should cover it completely. The ornamental shrub is highly toxic, and every year, animals who eat it end up dead.

That's another thing that Neale, who admits to being a purely city girl from Boston just learned about her new home and the animals that live here. She says the wildlife are one more reason that her move to the gem state was worth it. "The wildlife is special, and having it so close makes it a really wonderful place to live."