Elk In Virginia: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Are There Any Elk In Virginia?

Elk In Virginia
Elk In Virginia: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Yes, there are Elks In The State Of Virginia. Centuries back, herds of elk wandered before the 1600s in the United States, however, their population decimate because of overhunting and habitat destruction by the late 1800s. 

Now, a decade, it is a wildlife victory story for this animal. A lot of people think that elk are found only in the Western regions of the U.S., but that is not the case anymore. That is not their past, and through a big rehabilitation effort, people have worked to bring them to the state.

How Many Elk Are In Virginia?

After wildlife officers reintroduced 4 calves and 71 adult elk, between 2012 and 2014, in southwest regions of Virginia, specialists have labored to bring back the population that was almost wiped out in the region. Now, The Department of Wildlife Resources has stated that there is an over 250 elk thriving in Virginia, most of which are found near the restoration location in Buchanan County. 

Where Can I See Elk In Virginia?

For people who want to go on a trip, there are a few viewing locations in Buchanan County, which is roughly six hours away from the west of Blacksburg and D.C. There are even many opportunities for guided treks. 

The Cumberland Plateau located in Buchanan County, which is hidden in the mountain is the best elk viewing region with three viewing stations. They overlook the grassland habitat, enveloped by woodland borders.

Best Time To See Elk In Virginia?

Elk In Virginia
Elk In Virginia: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Beginning from August to October is the best and most impressive time to view elk in the state. This is because they begin their mating season during early fall. During their mating season male elk, known as bulls, release a special “bellowing call” when attempting to attract female elk, known as cow. When you listen to that bugling, it is the wildest sound ever,  that defines nature. 

Also, in the fall, it is a good time to view and hear them as they are very much focused on breeding and they care less about people being near them.  Elk are big animals and need shade to maintain their body temperature controlled, so specialists suggest the best time for visiting them are evenings at dusk and early mornings. 

They are rarely seen in the mid-day, particularly in the summer. As the temperatures become cooler, they will roam more, searching for food. If lucky, you can see even 50 elk together.

Also Check Our Guide On Elks In Texas

What County Are Elk In Virginia?

Virginia’s elk population can be found only in Southwest regions. Buchanan, Wise, and Dickenson are the three counties where they are found. Public viewing options are restricted only to Buchanan County. Together, these counties have grassland habitats and high-quality forage mixtures that are perfect for the population to thrive. 

Can You Hunt & Shoot Elk In Virginia?

Elk hunting is banned all year round in Dickenson, Buchanan, and Wise Counties. Sometimes it is open through a lottery. Individuals can apply for one from February to March. In the other areas of Virginia, they can be harvested in the deer hunting season along with a deer tag. 

Any elk can be taken using archery, firearms, or muzzleloader in the county where you are hunting. Successful elk hunters should contact the department for the collection of tissue samples from harvested elk. Other than the elk harvest season, a deer or elk can be killed only under the control of a Kill Permit administered by the Department. 

Also Check Our Guide On Elks In America

How much is an elk tag in Virginia?

Applications for elk hunting licenses can be brought online. Applications need a non-refundable amount of $15 for residents and $20 for any state non-residents. People who have won the lottery ticket will have to buy a special hunting license costing $40 for residents, and $400 for any non-residents. The special hunting license obtained cannot be transferred to anyone. 


And that was everything you need to know about the Elk In Virginia. I hope this article answered all your queries.

Thank You For Reading!

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