Elk wanders through Luverne's west side Nov. 12

By Lori Ehde

An elk, of all things, wondered through the west side of Luverne last week, creating a stir among residents on the west side of town.

According to DNR Conservation Officer Joel Mikle, the elk was spotted Sunday, Nov. 12, in the neighborhoods south of the school bus garages.

"It looked all right, but it looked tired," Mikle said. "It was standing upright between a house and garage looking around. It was prancing and running with its head up high, so it looked good."

Mikle said he has no way of knowing where the elk came from or where it was headed.

In the wild, elk normally live in the western states of Montana, Wyoming and some in the Black Hills and a small area of northwestern Minnesota.

A more likely home base for this elk, he said, is a game farm, possibly from Murray or Nobles counties.

He said there's no way to know for sure. "Wild elk have been known to pass through here," he said, adding that it's been 15 years since he's heard of one in this area.

He guessed it was a 2-year-old male around 700 pounds. "As far as elks go, it wasn't huge, but compared with a deer, it was quite a bit bigger, especially with the antlers."

Mikle said full-grown elk weigh between 700 and 1,000 pounds, while the largest deer get to be only 400 pounds.

There's no excuse to mistake it for a white-tailed deer," he said. "Hopefully people leave it alone."

The animal was last seen in the Beaver Creek area.

Mikle said the only reason he got involved with the elk was because it was in town. "Public safety was a concern," he said. "It's fun to look at, but don't get too close. It's like any animal. If you leave it alone, you'll be OK."

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