Rare Elk Sightings In Pratt County

By: Parrish Alleman Email
By: Parrish Alleman Email

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Hitting a deer is one thing but hitting an elk in Pratt county, that's rare.

The Kansas Department of Parks and Wildlife says there have been only a handful of elk sightings in Pratt county since 2005. But just in the last month, there have been several sightings in the area.

Just as we were about to interview Sgt. James White, he got called out to an accident. A car had hit a deer, something he says happens a lot in Pratt county.

"This time of year yes, two to three a night,” Sgt. White said.

In fact, he says it's what he thought had happened last Tuesday night, when he arrived on the scene of an accident near the Kingman and Pratt county line.

“They were saying how large this deer was. They couldn't believe how large it was, they said it was crossing the highway,” Sgt. White said.

But Sgt. White says he took one look at the animal the driver hit and knew it was not a deer.

"I wish I could have seen the look on my face. I was not ready to see an elk, especially not a large bull elk. I've seen them at zoos and in the wild. I immediately knew what it was. I was just shocked to see one in Pratt, Kansas,” Sgt. White said.

Sgt. White's elk sighting isn't the only recent one in Pratt county. Just a month ago, Jeana Clark snapped these shots, on her drive from Haviland to Pratt.

"I was shocked and being an amateur photographer I was excited and wanted to get as many pictures as I could,” Jeana Clark said.

Even with the small rash of sightings in Pratt county, Sgt. White doubts he'll get called out to many more elk accidents on the highway.

"I hope not. No I don't think it's going to be very common at all,” Sgt. White said.

Still, he says Kansas drivers should keep their eyes open for all wildlife, whether it's deer or something a little more rare.

A representative from the Kansas department of Parks and Wildlife tells us although this many sightings, this close together, is unusual but it's not unheard of. He says there are about 300 elk in Kansas. The largest herds are in Ford and Reno county. Pratt county sits right in the middle, so he says most likely the elk spotted in Pratt came from one of those two counties.

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