Outdoors Blog

Elk herd rumbles through Boise’s Harris Ranch as snow pushes wildlife toward town

A herd of elk spent Sunday morning and afternoon grazing and lounging in the Harris Ranch neighborhood of Boise.

Later in the afternoon, a dozen elk ran within about 10 yards of my back fence. Earlier in the day, residents spotted them in a field near Warm Springs Avenue.

You can watch the video I shot from my back door above and one shot from the road below.

Elk sightings around town have increased in the past week because of the heavy snowfall in the Boise Foothills. I saw an elk near the Homestead Trail last week, about a half-mile from houses. A reader called to report seeing an elk behind her Foothills home off 8th Street on New Year’s Day. That was a first in 29 years at that home, she said.

Also last week, seven elk died after eating poisonous Japanese yew near Table Rock.

I asked Roger Phillips last week about elk sightings in town. He is a public information specialist at Idaho Fish and Game.

“They’re in the Foothills every winter, but snow has probably pushed them lower than in the past,” he said. “I spotted a herd along the Payette River near Horseshoe Bend. They’re right off the Interstate between here and Mountain Home, and likely down near (Harris Ranch) too. ... The next week or so will be interesting because if it warms up and some of this low-elevation snow melts, they might move farther up into the Foothills, or they might also decide they’re comfortable where they’re at and stick around.”