Last year about this time, I hiked through a wide meadow (in the Beaverhead National Forest), accessible only by foot or horse (just passing through on the way to an alpine lake). On the opposite side of the meadow, I was pleased to see about 70 head of elk grazing below a south facing slope. They saw me too and shuffled their way up a draw. I made a mental note of that draw and came back during bow season.
When I returned in the fall, bow in hand, I passed through a lower meadow, connected by the same creek. In that meadow there was a giant herd of cattle grazing... no big deal. When I reached my destination, though, I could tell that the herd of cattle had been in the upper meadow probably less than a week prior. It was grazed, fresh cow patties everywhere, and not an elk to be found or heard in the area. I was terribly disappointed. I've heard people say before that they see elk and cattle out grazing the same field, I've even seen it a couple times, myself, but I think that the elk probalby tolerate cattle for a little while, then move on to greener pasture, so to speak. Any of you guys ever see this sort of thing? I suppose it's also possible the elk had just naturally migrated on to a different area by early fall too, but I honestly doubt that. They had everything that elk generally seem to seek out right their.
At any rate, I've scanned that area extensively on topo maps and google earth. If I return to that spot, it will likely be to hunt the area just south of there, thick timber with intermittent springs/small meadows. I was wondering if you guys have seen anything more substantial than I have in terms of how elk react and relate to cattle being grazed in their areas.