The Harshfield elk problem is a climax of what has been happening to farmers and ranchers for years. There is a solution, but I will probably be laughed at because of the truth of this matter.
When I was dry land farming grain, the loss to us was a real problem. Reason number one was that when we were combining, we counted 147 elk beds in four rounds of a 20-acre field of spring grain.
I sent a bill to the Oregon Open Space Consortium for the damage. They sent a really nice letter stating they didn’t pay for damages but would be happy to use preventative measures.
Those measures would never take care of the real problem. When the dry land farmers starved out, and with no hay or grain to get into, what did the elk do? They headed for the valley where the picking is easy.
The elk are spread throughout the valley in places like Harshfield’s, Smackle’s, Henderson’s, Fox’s, Schaeffer’s, Johnson’s, Werst’s, Brock’s Wolf’s and ranchers along the Warnock Road corridor, to name a few.
The solution is to put a tight game fence along the valley to Wallowa and back to the south side of the valley to the Lostine River. This is the answer to the problem.