Elk NetworkBe Smart When Viewing Elk in Pennsylvania

General | August 28, 2020

Below is a news release from the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

While Visiting, Do Your Part to Preserve the WILD Nature of the Elk Herd

GIVE ELK SPACE. Keep a distance – of at least 100 yards – between you and the elk. Never approach them. Elk are wild animals that are unpredictable and sometimes aggressive, especially during the fall breeding season. Cows are also known to defend their young when they feel threatened.

NEVER FEED ELK. Not only is it illegal to feed elk in Pennsylvania, but it teaches them to associate people, cars and/or homes with food. This could cause them to approach people looking for more. Feeding also promotes the spread of infectious diseases by having them unnaturally congregate into small areas.

DON’T NAME ELK. Characterizing elk, or any wildlife, by naming them degrades their wild essence. The very reason people are drawn to the elk is their unaltered independence from humans. Personifying elk as humans takes away from their truly wild nature.

DO YOUR PART. The welfare of the elk herd is a shared responsibility. If you see someone being disruptive or careless, whether intentional or not, kindly ask them to stop or report it to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Northcentral Region by calling 570-398-4744. We all have a duty to ensure the safety of people and the long-term welfare of the elk.


Visiting Pennsylvania’s Elk Country has become an annual tradition and regular trip for thousands of people from near and far. ELK SMART provides four simple and effective ways that all elk viewers can ensure the wild essence of the herd remains for generations to come. The initiative was created in 2020 to encourage those visiting, recreating and living within the elk range to be mindful of their actions and to help keep the elk WILD.

Pennsylvania’s Elk Herd

Pennsylvania’s elk herd is located in the state’s northcentral region. As many as 1,400 elk freely roam across 3,000 square miles, mostly within Elk, Cameron, Clinton, Clearfield and Centre counties. Learn more about Pennsylvania elk. Learn more about elk history in Pennsylvania.

Elk Viewing Information

The best time of day to view elk is in the mornings and evenings. The most popular time of year to view elk is during the rut, which typically begins in September and carries through October. Check out the Elk Viewing Guide and Elk Scenic Drive Map from the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau.

Be sure to tune in to the Elk Viewing Area Information Radio Station on 1620 AM in Benzette for an ELK SMART message, along with plenty of other helpful elk viewing information, including special announcements and emergency information. This radio channel is provided by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Keystone Elk Country Alliance, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Keep in mind, just as the elk herd calls this beautiful area of Pennsylvania home, so do plenty of human residents and camp owners. Please remember to be respectful of private property while visiting.

Elk Smart Partners

  • Pennsylvania Game Commission
  • Keystone Elk Country Alliance
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
  • Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau
  • Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
  • Pennsylvania WILDS

Businesses, sportsmen’s clubs, landowners or other entities located in Elk Country interested in sharing or displaying ELK SMART materials, (including yard signs, posters and rack cards), can request them by contacting the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Northcentral Region Office at 570-398-4744.

(Photo source: Charlie Cropp)