Elk sightings trigger concerns of migration to Armstrong County

An elk cow is seen grazing in a soybean field in Kittanning Township, Wednesday August 28, 2013.
An elk cow is seen grazing in a soybean field in Kittanning Township, Wednesday August 28, 2013.
Photo by Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
| Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Recent elk sightings in Armstrong County have had some people asking if herds might be migrating to the area from northern counties.

That's not likely, said John Bennett, a member of the Armstrong County Animal Response Team (ACART).

“I doubt they are migrating from Elk County,” he said.

Bill Altmeyer of Kittanning Township said he used to raise elk on his property 15 years ago and that someone in the area has probably been raising the animals and one or two have managed to get loose.

There have been several recent sightings of a female elk in Mahoning, and on Tuesday, another was spotted in Cowanshannock near Route 85 and Margaret Road. Wednesday, one was seen along Berdell Lane, which borders Cowanshannock and Kittanning Township.

“It was just standing there eating away at the soybeans,” Jo Ann Wingard said.

Although Wingard said the animal appeared to be calm and relaxed, Altmeyer said people should not attempt to approach elk.

“It could pose a danger,” he said, adding that both cows and bulls may try to charge onlookers.

State police in East Franklin said if people come across an elk, they should call 911 so a game commissioner can be dispatched to the scene.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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