Great Herd of Elk Driven by Snows

Great Herd of Elk Driven by Snows from the Mountains of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
A few decades ago the American elk, or wapiti deer, like that other lordly native American, the bison, was in imminent danger of extinction, because he was so pitilessly pursued by hunters. But owing to protective laws enacted by the governments of the United States and Canada, large herds of both bison and elk now exist and are increasing in various great national parks of the American and the Canadian Northwest. Perhaps the greatest numbers of elk to be found today in any one locality are in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, where thousands of head live in their native wild state among the mountains and in the valleys of that great wild animal preserve.

They are especially numerous in the northeastern corner of the park and when the snows of that high region become so deep in midwinter that grazing is no longer possible, both they and hundreds of head of bison make their way down into the valley of the Lamar River, where hay is fed to them by a force of men maintained for that purpose by the Government. This hay is cut and stacked in the valley during the summer at the Buffalo Ranch and the herd before us is gathered near that point. These elk are in no danger of starvation, though many of them would doubtless perish if not thus cared for. The American elk is well worth preserving, for he is one of the finest of wild animals, a full grown buck often standing as high as a large horse and weighing a thousand pounds. His antlers have a spread of four feet and he carries himself with nobility and grace.

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