A home in Maggie Valley has acquired some new neighbors since a herd of elk has been stopping by to graze for the last three years.
Kathy Ausburn has made it a habit to watch the elk that visit her fields at her home on 4561 Soco Road.
Ausburn, who is delighted by the new grazers, said she had seen as many 10 elk venture onto her land between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. to snack on her apple trees.
“Every morning they come to eat breakfast,” she said with a laugh. “They’ve been coming for a few years. But this year they’re coming more than ever.”
Ausburn said she thought the elk had found their way to Maggie Valley after being release from the Cherokee area.
“My husband went out there one morning and saw them just lying in the field,” Ausburn said.
Ausburn said she and her husband had lived in their Maggie Valley home for 12 years, adding that the elk visiting had been an extra bonus.
“My grandson, he loves them,” Ausburn said. “He gets up early in the morning and says, ‘Can we go see the elk?’”
Ausburn said the elk were very calm, adding that they remained still while she took photos of them from about 15 feet away.
“They don’t run,” she said. “And we’re able to get really close.”