A Gentle Giant

At first light Sunday morning Willard and I again began driving the roads around Benezette in search of elk. After checking Winslow Hill we turned onto Rt 555. After checking out a herd of cows, calves and young bulls feeding in a lawn we were heading back towards Benezette when I spotted two rack bulls feeding between a house and barn.

Turning onto a side road we stopped to photograph the bulls. The largest bull, posted here, turned out to be a bull we were very familiar with. I have had the privilege to have photographed him over a period of four years. Currently one of my images of him from the rut of 2008 graces both the 2010 Pa Game Commission calendar and the March/April issue of Pennsylvania Magazine.

During all of my encounters with this animal he has been very docile and absolutely fearless of humans, neither attempting to approach or to retreat. This photograph was taken in the current Elk Hunt Zone 2.

How can I say it; it both breaks my heart and makes me boiling mad, that some would kill & assist to kill this gentle animal in the name of sport hunting and then have the audacity to call him a “Trophy”.

Republished from Country Captures


  1. Thanks Coy for those words. I too have photographed this amazing bull for 3 years. I treasure not only the photos he has given to me but I guess I would call it a friendship sort of thing we had when we would meet.

    I actually was in a few feet of kisser/odie at one time and he sort of to me said hi.

    This bull has hurt no one that I know of and I know Im not the only one who has approached him at times.
    It is imperiative that zone 2 be expanded to save there most precious animals as many has grown to know and love at some point.

  2. My husband and I currently own two properties in the Blue Skies development just off Winslow Hill. This weekend we will close on the third, where we will build our retirement home. Over the past few years, we have come to respect and love all the wildlife that can be found in our area, elk, deer, bear, turkey, etc. Kisser was a frequent visitor and we photographed him every opportunity we had. During the summer of 2010, we had the pleasure of hosting Kisser, Attitude and a herd of cows and calves for an entire weekend. Kisser was a magnificent animal and we will miss him tremendously.

    Each year my husband applies for an elk tag...this year I asked him what he would do if he was drawn for a bull tag and came upon one of the bulls we have come to know, he replied, "walk away". Maybe more hunters should feel this way!!

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences, anonymous. I used to be an avid hunter, but eventually drifted more and more toward photographing and videotaping wildlife. I well recall the first whitetail buck that I decided I would not shoot if I had the chance to. I recorded him in 1996 when he was an 8pt and I had a lot of encounters with him the following fall when he was a beautiful 10pt. I decided that I would not shoot him in buck season, if I saw him. I did not see him then or thereafter so someone else evidently killed him. In a few years I quit hunting entirely, but I have no problems with someone who does hunt in an ethical and restrained manner.

    I still think that at least part of the answer to the problem is to not allow hunting in the areas where the elk are the most acclimated. I won't go into detail here as I have posted several articles about this.

    I wish you and your husband a lot of wonderful years of retirement and hope you can continue to enjoy the wildlife.