Bugle Valley Elk Farm: A different kind of family farm

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Situated on 240 acres of hills and valley in northern Putnam County, Bugle Valley Elk farm has been raising elk since 2000.

This farm has been in the Clodfelter family for more than 97 years, with four generations raising a variety of livestock over the years. It was 13 years ago that owner Gene Clodfelter made the decision to take the farm's livestock in a new direction.

Located at 4205 W. County Road 1000 North, Roachdale, the farm is open for tours by appointment. These tours feature a wagon ride through the 240 acres over which the 75 elk are spread.

A tour offers the chance to see big bull elk, cows, spikers and calves up close during feeding time. Special times to see the farm include bulls shedding their antlers in March and April, the birth of calves in May and June and the bugling of the bulls during mating season from early September through November.

Elk belong to the deer family, also known as cervidae. The adult males and females, as well as babies share the same name designations as cattle -- males are bulls, females are cows and babies are called calves.

Bulls weigh, on average, 700-900 pounds; while cows vary from 500-600. Calves average 35 pounds at birth.

Chief among the products produced by elk is their meat, which has long been considered the premier venison. This meat fits the needs of the modern consumer because it is lean, low in fat and cholesterol and delicious.

The animals are also raised with no growth hormones or chemicals.

There is also value in their soft, durable leather, which can be used to make boots, gloves and other clothing.

Elk antlers are used to make jewelry, pieces of art, decorative home accessories and dog chews.

After shedding them each spring, the bulls grow a complete new set of antlers by August. The antler, which can grow as much as 1.5 inches per day, is soft with a hair-like covering as it grows.

The tours are available for $5, with children 3 and younger for free.

Besides tours, elk products are also for sale at the farm. These include frozen meat, antlers, hides, elk velvet antler supplements, summer sausage, snack sticks and dog chews.

For more information, contact Clodfelter at 522-1550.

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