BEND, OR -- Call it an unintended consequence of increased development and recreation: A herd of 75 to 90 elk that used to winter in Elk Meadow in southwest Bend has been displaced. Cory Heath, with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife tells KBND News, “Around Brookswood, Elk Meadow School, River Rim, all the subdivisions all along that corridor where the elk used to winter; that’s all been a direct loss of habitat.”
As a result, the elk have moved north and are now wreaking havoc at Awbrey Glen Golf Course and ranches on Johnson Road in northwest Bend. “They’re eating the grass on the golf course; you know, they’re urinating and defecating on it, causing burn spots. They’re putting pock marks on the greens and the fairways with their hooves; tearing down fences up off of Johnson Road for the private farmers up there. They’re getting into hay stacks in the hay fields,” says Heath.
ODFW is working with the golf course and ranchers, installing elk-proof fences, electric fences and more, in an effort to reduce the damage to property. They also moved the antler-less elk hunt boundary to the west for the month of December, to reduce the number of elk moving into developed areas.