Spotting an elk in the wild is a wonderful experience. Seeing a group of elk together is spectacular and breathtaking. The process of looking for elk is an adventure into some of Michigan's most beautiful country. But there's no guarantee you, or your passenger will see one every time you try. If you haven't tried it but want to, here are some tips worth knowing.
Michigan Elk are located predominantly in the area north of M-32 with Hillman to the east, Gaylord to the west and Wolverine and Onaway to the north. It includes the Pigeon River State Forest.
From Lewiston, the easiest access to elk viewing is to drive north on Meridian Line Road until it forks left onto Black River Road. Black River Road ends at Blue Lakes Road. If you head west on Blue Lakes, you will drive into the Pigeon River Forest. East of Black River Road, elk are commonly viewed off Camp 30 Road, Growler Club Road, and Tow Line Lake Road. North of Atlanta about three miles is Voyer Lake Rd which goes east off M-33. Elk viewing is popular in this area off Stevens Springs Rd.
A county road map is a great tool in plotting your trip and is available at most local gas stations. Bring a camera and binoculars too. If your vehicle does not have a directional compass, bring one of those too. A lot of the roads wind and turn in varying directions, making it easy to get turned around.
The optimal time to see elk is just after first light in the morning or the final hours before dark. Elk will seek out pastures to feed and are most easily spotted on the edge of large open fields, or gas well clearings.
Bull elk shed their antlers every year usually the end of March. They begin to grow new antlers almost immediately. By summer, the new antlers are covered in velvet.