56 Pigeon River Country Elk Range
| directions and facility information
Photo: Kenyon, MI DNR
and surrounding land is home to the largest free-roaming elk herd east of
the Mississippi River. The nearly
100,000-acre state forest contains native hardwoods and pines that are
interspersed with fields and forest openings. The Department of Natural
Resources maintains this excellent elk habitat through careful forest and
The elk or wapiti is a large member of the deer family.
Adult males may weigh up to 1/2 ton. Photo: Dave Kenyon, MIDNR
Elk inhabit this site year-round, but
certain times are better for viewing than others. Probably the best month
is September, when the males (bulls) are trying to establish dominance
for mating rights with the females (cows). They are very active during
this time, making loud vocalizations (bugling), and breaking brush with
their antlers to impress cows and intimidate their rivals. If you plan to
visit during September, try to arrive during the week. Elk viewing has
become very popular and weekends are crowded. Another good time to view
elk is from late April through early May. Elk are active throughout the
daylight hours eating the new green growth and there are few people out
to see them. Several elk viewing sites have been established on this
site. These are not the only places you can see elk, but they are located
in known elk gathering spots, and are good places to start.
Photo:© R W Kropf Pigeon River
viewing is done from your car, since elk are accustomed to seeing cars.
Use binoculars or spotting scopes for best results. Do not approach elk.
Despite their large size, they are timid animals and will not tolerate
Portions of this
area are open to public hunting.
Contact the michigan
department of natural resources for affected seasons and locations.