See The Elk



By proclamation of Governor Mike Huckabee, Newton County was officially designated "Elk Capital of Arkansas" on July 22, 1998. The proclamation and the first annual Buffalo River Elk Festival held the next week celebrated a successful introduction of Rocky Mountain Elk that started in the 1970ís.

Celebrating the elk is more than an activity for hunters. All up and down the river, there are places where you are likely to find the elk grazing in open fields, including some areas that are easily seen from your vehicle. Elk-watching is a favorite past-time of Newton County residents which they invite you to share and enjoy.


While elk watching is at its best in the cooler seasons, it is possible to see them even in full summer if you watch the bedding fields late in the evening or very early in the Morning. Winter is ideal, as the animals will stay in the fields most of the day, grazing or sleeping in the sunshine. Fall is the rut season and bulls begin bugling in September. Their high pitched call rings from the bluffs of the Buffalo and adds excitement . When the calves come in the spring, they too, are an especially entertaining part of elk watching.

Exploring anywhere along the Buffalo National River corridor is likely to yield elk sightings. Some hiking and/or driving on gravel roads may be required so choose a driving tour, hike one of the many trails, or just walk any section of the riverís winding path from Boxley Valley to Carver to view these magnificent animals. 

Photo By Rick Metzger U.S. Forest Service

For easy elk watching without hiking, there are two good locations. One is on Highway 123 around the Carver bridge south of Hasty and the other is in Boxley Valley. Start at the Junction of Highway 74 and 21 then drive south to the old grist mill. Elk are usually in the area, especially during the morning or evening hours. They are very used to visitors and almost seem to pose for pictures.

Either road from the Pruitt Bridge will take you into elk country. The North River Road, west for the bridge is narrow and rough, but passable and a pleasant drive. The east road will eventually bring you out on Highway 123 if you follow it all the way through. In all the areas where the road follows the river, a short walk through fields offers opportunities to see elk. When the gravel road reaches 123, turn south to Carver. If elk cannot be seen at the bridge, walk a short distance up the river along the field edges.

After leaving Carver, a short drive on gravel road will take you to the Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area with its extensive elk habitat improvement benefiting the species. This is a great place to do some walking. Several old roads and some service roads wind through this MA, making walking easy though the fields and timber.

Erbie is another great place to see the elk. They can generally be found around the campgrounds or in the fields of the Clagget farm on the north side of the river. Look in the high places like the horse camp in warmer weather and in the low fields of the old farms when it is cold.

Please remember that even though our elk seem almost tame, they are wild animals. Keep a safe distance especially during fall rut. During the fall rut, there is a higher potential for animal attack and injury.

Have a great time while visiting Newton County and we hope you enjoy the spectacular beauty of our part of the Ozark Mountains, the majestic bluffs of the Buffalo National River and our magnificent Elk.

the last weekend in JUNE IN JASPER, ARKANSAS


Elk Capital Of Arkansas

State of Arkansas
Executive Department


WHEREAS, the people of Arkansas have profited from a successful elk introduction program that began at the instigation of Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioner Hilary Jones, a native of Newton County, and other citizens of the area who supported his proposal; and

WHEREAS, the people of Newton County have taken a proprietary interest in the Hilary Jones Elk Herd, raising private funds for rewards to stop poachers, cooperating with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission on health concerns, and daily enjoying seeing the elk in their county, and

WHEREAS, the introduction of elk in Arkansas was facilitated by private citizens of Newton County who volunteered their time and equipment to go to Colorado to pick up trapped elk and bring them back; and

WHEREAS, all of the elk were released in Newton County along the Buffalo River corridor and have stayed primarily within the river corridor, and

WHEREAS, the elk program has been so successful that the state will have its first modern day elk hunt this year and the people of Newton County will celebrate by hosting the first annual Buffalo River Elk Festival in Jasper;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mike Huckabee, acting under the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Arkansas, do hereby proclaim Newton County, Arkansas, as ELK CAPITAL OF ARKANSAS

IN TESTIMONY Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Arkansas to be affixed this 22nd day of July, in the year of our Lord 1998.

Mike Huckabee

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