On January 3rd., 2013 Elaine,Konner,Kayden, and I drove up to the Oak creek Elk Feeding Station which is about 25 miles west of Yakima on Hwy 12, the White Pass Highway.
The elk are fed every day at 1:30 PM.I didn't know that elk could tell time, but they must be able to ,because there were about 600 of them there waiting for lunch. They estimate the number of animals by counting the legs and dividing by four.
The elk are fed during the winter, and they get a beer garden in the summer.
While a vast majority was waiting there were a few that came just in time.
Hanging around before lunch.
Waiting in the snow.
Where's that damn truck?
The elk are born around March, but sometimes one will be born late, and as a result it will be smaller and weaker.When winter arrives,most of these will not make it.
A smaller and weaker elk.
Relaxing before eating.What else is there for then to do?
Still before lunch.
Lots of big antlers.
The hay is stored in a large shed. Around 1:25 in the afternoon the elk start migrating toward it. The hay truck starts out at 1:30 PM, and starts dropping piles of hay as it slowly drives through the feeding area. It goes about half of a mile before it runs out of hay, and the elk who aren't already eating follow it to the end.
The hay is dropped in piles, and groups of elk descend upon individual piles. There seems to be a dominant male at each hay pile, and he decides which elk in the group gets to eat.
Gathering at the hay shed fence.
Truck leaving the shed.
Hay dropped on the ground.
Following the truck.
Almost at the end of the line.
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