Across the Rocky Mountain West, most elk spend their summer months in alpine meadows where grass is lush and insects are less bothersome. To see or photograph these herds requires an effort similar to a full blown hunt with lots of climbing and hiking. On the other hand, wapiti in a few locations have learned that a golf course is a great place to graze and make a home smack in the middle of town.

Estes park

Estes Park Colorado has a resident herd of down-town elk.

If you want to watch elk close up or photograph them, head for Estes Park Colorado during late summer. Early in the morning and late in afternoon, you’ll find herds wandering around town, causing traffic jams, and otherwise demonstrating very un-elk behavior. Yellowstone National Park will offer a similar experience if you enter through the North Gate from Montana. You will see animals bedded along the highways, bulls checking out cows, and other activities all within range of the average telephoto lens.

This YouTube video is more about humor than wildlife, yet you’ll quickly see that they go together.