12.13.2011

Another Winslow Hill Favorite Killed In 2011 Hunt

Wildlife Artist and photographer David Anderson alerted members of the elk watching/photography community some time ago about the death of another favorite bull.  This was an impressive 7x8 bull that thrilled thousands of tourists during the rut on Winslow Hill.  Many if not most of the bulls leave Winslow Hill after the rut and this bull was not killed on Winslow Hill, but in nearby Jay Township, Elk County.  Anderson had been working on a painting of this particular animal.

7x8 Rests With Harem Near Large Number Of Tourists Along Dewey Road
I concentrated on filming the rut this year, and my still photography suffered greatly as I was usually running a video camera during my best elk encounters.  As a result, most of the photographs I am posting today are still captures from the Canon XL-H1 video camera.  The following is one of the most dramatic frame captures I was able to find from the HD video.

7x8 Pauses To Pant On Winslow Hill
Saturday evening, September 24th found The Saddle filled with elk and elk watchers.  I was on a favorite pond bank with the XL-H1, recording the activity.  Two large  bulls came from the woods and passed by where I was standing.  Both were exceptional, but one had a broken beam.  The other was the 7x8.  The following photo was taken at that time and shows how the bull looked from a side view.

7x8 Passes By Pond Bank

The bulls continued past the pond and into a clover strip along the road through the saddle, where they joined a large herd of cows and smaller bulls.

7x8 With Harem Near Elk Watchers
This elk was not among the wildest that I have seen, but neither was he the most acclimated to humans.  Depending on the circumstances he seemed to have a 40-75 yard tolerance range.  I never actually saw him bolt from humans, but did see him move slowly away when persons got inside his comfort zone.

With the loss of this bull and another one known as "Ear Hook", the two largest bulls commonly seen on Winslow Hill this fall are gone.  

Anderson notes that he intends to complete the painting after the Holidays.

Originally Posted At Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

11.11.2011

Pennsylvania Elk Season 2011-Part 3 Results, End Of 1st Week

Elk Near Gilbert Viewing Area, Winslow Hill Hunt Zone 2  First Morning Of Season
By the end of the first week of Pennsylvania elk season on November 5th, 2011, 19 bull elk had been killed along with 34 antlerless--this from an allocation of 18 antlered tags and  38 antlerless, leaving only 4 antlerless tags to be filled during the extended elk season, which began on Monday and ends at close of shooting hours on Saturday November 12th.  This season is open only to persons with unfilled tags and in the area of the state which is outside of the official Elk Management Area.  It is designed to direct pressure at the elk that have spread into areas where the PGC does not want the animals.

You might ask, how can there be 19 bulls legally killed when there is only an 18 bull tag allocation.  The extra bull is the Governors Conservation Tag, which is auctioned off each year to the highest bidder.    We plan to discuss this in more detail in the near future (there are some details in PGC news release below).

The results of the hunt tends to reinforce the position that most Pennsylvania elk are  not "as wild as any", as many try to claim. Historically, the success rate on bulls has been very high--usually in the 90%--100% range and this year was no exception.  This is not to deny that there may be a lot of hard work involved in the logistics of a hunt, both during  preparation, and dealing with the harvested animal,  but in many cases there is no difficult "hunting story"  to tell, although there may be some hunts that are challenging, especially in the more remote areas.

Bull Elk No Hunt Zone Gilbert Viewing Area -A Survivor Of Monday's Harvest In The Saddle
Below is the official PGC news release, which may be found by visiting the PGC website. To view the official document:  Click Here.

November 08, 2011
Release #126-11 (Source The Pennsylvania Game Commission)

HUNTERS HARVEST 53 ELK IN 2011
HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today announced that 53 of the 57 licensed elk hunters were successful during the 2011 elk seasons. Of that total, 19 were antlered elk and 34 were antlerless elk.

"Elk are one of North America’s premier big game animals," Roe said. "Pennsylvania is privileged to offer this unique hunting opportunity, a product of successful wildlife management that supports Pennsylvania’s rich hunting heritage. It’s an unparalleled experience for hunters, without all the travel and expense of a one- or two-week guided elk hunt out West."

The heaviest antlered elk was taken by William G. Zee, of Doylestown, Bucks County. He took a 930-pound (estimated live weight), 9x8 on Nov. 1, in Goshen Township, Clearfield County. It’s unofficial Boone & Crockett green score was 426 and five-eighths inches. If this score holds up after the required 60-day drying time, it would be ranked second on Pennsylvania’s Big Game Records for non-typical elk.

Other high-scoring antlered elk (all estimated live weights) were: Jesse M. Heiple, of Somerset, Somerset County, took a 772-pound, 8x7 on Nov. 1, in Jay Township, Elk County, which green-scored at 399 and three-eighths inches; Ken Kastely, of Carroll, Ohio, took a 780-pound, 9x9 on Nov. 1, in Covington Township, Clearfield County, which green-scored at 386 and five-eighths inches; and Calvin E. Wallace, of Kylertown, Clearfield County, took a 711-pound, 6x7 on Oct. 31, in Jay Township, Elk County.

The heaviest antlerless elk was taken by Garry L. Foreman, of Hershey, Dauphin County, who harvested a 601-pound (estimated live weight) antlerless elk on Nov. 5, in Jay Township, Elk County.

Those hunters rounding out the top five heaviest (all estimated live weights) antlerless elk harvested were: Daniel W. Saulter, of Coudersport, Potter County, who took a 594-pound antlerless elk on Nov. 3, in Jay Township, Elk County; Gregory Collins, of Clearfield, Clearfield County, who took a 579-pound antlerless elk on Nov. 2, in Goshen Township, Clearfield County; David Grata, of Johnstown, Cambria County, who took a 546-pound antlerless elk on Nov. 1, in Goshen Township, Clearfield County; and Joshua Brubaker, of Edinboro, Erie County, who took a 517-pound antlerless elk on Oct. 31, in Benezette Township, Elk County.

Agency biologists extracted samples needed for chronic wasting disease testing. Results are expected in early 2012.

Roe also noted that Michael McGinnis, of Lyndhurst, Virginia, who was the successful bidder for the Elk Conservation Tag, harvested an antlered elk. McGinnis harvested a 7x9 on Oct. 19, in Jay Township, in Elk County. McGinnis purchased the Conservation Elk Tag during the Safari Club International’s national conference in early 2011, and was able to hunt from Sept. 1-Nov. 5.

Under the state law that created the Elk Conservation Tag, of the $29,000 that McGinnis bid for the tag, $23,200 will go to the Game Commission’s Game Fund and $5,800 will be retained by Safari Club International.

11.04.2011

Pennsylvania Elk Season 2011-Part 2 Results as Of Noon Thursday

Bull Harvested In Saddle Monday Morning
As promised we will soon get to the elk season statistics as of noon on Thursday, but first a bit of information about the bull harvested in the saddle on Monday.  He was captured as a calf in Bear Hollow, fitted with  numbered ear tags, and released.  He was 41/2 years this fall.

The check station was very quiet when I stopped by slightly before noon on Thursday while headed back home.  This was in marked contrast to the day before when several bulls were brought in to the checked.between 10:00 a.m.  and noon. 

Elk Check Station
At noon Thursday there were 3 bull tags and 16 cow tags that had not yet been filled out of a total allocation of 56.  The following is a breakdown of some of the more pertinent statistics:



Allocation Harvested
Hunt Zone Bulls Cows Bulls Cows
1 Open Open

2 4 12 2 10
3 1 2 1 1
4 1 1 1 1
5 Closed Closed

6 Closed Closed

7 4 6 1 2
8 4 6 0 4
9 2 9 2 4
10 2 2 2 0
11-Open Zone

6
Total 18 38 15 22


Explanation: Hunt Zone 1 has no specified allocation, but is part of the open zone.  The open Zone is also called Zone 11 and is a portion of the Elk Management Area as defined on page 88 of the 2011-12 Hunting and Trapping Digest issued with hunting licenses by the PGC.  The closed area is the portion of the Elk Management Area also described on the same page where elk hunting is not permitted this year.  I do not think the bull killed by the holder of The Governor's Conservation Tag is included on this chart.  If not 3 bulls were shot in Zone 2, but this bull was recovered in Zone 10.


It is my understanding that hunters are required to hunt in the Hunt Zone for which they are drawn, with the exception that they may choose to hunt in the open zone instead if they so desire.  It is interesting to note that 6 bulls were harvested in the open zone, which has to mean that the hunters were originally given another hunt zone but chose not to hunt there.  Surprisingly Zone 2 had yielded only 1/2 of its' bull allocation, while Zone 8 had none killed. and Zone 7 had 1 of its' 4 tags unfilled.  It would be interesting to know what zones the hunters who harvested bulls in the Open Zone were originally chosen for, but I did not think to check and see if this information was available at the time.

Based on statistics from past years, I would venture to predict that it is likely that most if not all of  the bull tags will be filled, but it is very likely that some of the cow tags will not.  According to Page 86 of the Digest there is an extended season from November 7-12, where those with unfilled tags may hunt for a bull or cow depending on the type of license issued to them, but only in areas outside of the Elk Management Area, which are areas where the PGC does not want an elk herd to become established.

Now for a few more statistics. The bulls fitted with numbered collars are listed by bull number and number of points, others by points only. NT means non-typical, while T means typical.


Largest Bulls

Bull 89 (8x9) -, Zone 9 Clearfield County: NT- Gross 440, Final 426 5/8
8x7- Zone 9 Clearfield County: NT Gross 405 6/8, Final 399 3/8
Bull 3B (8x7) Zone 7: T Gross 409, Final 333 5/8.
9x9-Zone 11 (Open Zone) Gross 409 1/8, Final 386 5/8.

The above information about the largest bulls is taken from my hastily scribbled notes and I hope that it is accurate.  I am not sure if the 9x9 listed last is typical or non-typical.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill

Pennsylvania Elk Season 2011-Part 1

I was in Pennsylvania Elk Country from last Friday afternoon until noon on Thursday, observing and recording events leading up to elk season, and of course the first 3 1/2 days of season.  I spent much of my time at the major viewing area on Dewey Road, which is also the only viewing area on Winslow Hill where elk are frequently harvested within plain view of the general public. This was a hot-bed of elk activity, with a large herd usually visible on the far hillside, which many know as "The Saddle".  I never paused to count the elk, but heard others talk about seeing 100 animals  in the area, which seems to be a good ball park figure.

I saw several bulls on the hill throughout the period, most of which were distinctively 2nd or 3rd tier bulls.  I did film a very respectable bull on Friday evening, but did not see him again.  There were two or more 6x6 bulls that looked much alike, making it hard to differentiate between them.  Saturday brought snow  and  excellent encounters with these animals.  One of the bulls was to figure largely in the events of Monday morning.

6x6 In Snow-Likely The Bull Harvested On The First Day

Many of the elk in the saddle, including several bulls, moved into the no hunt zone after feeding on Sunday morning, but in late evening they started working back toward the saddle and for a time elk viewing and photography was excellent along Dewey Road, but it seemed likely that by dawn most of this herd would rejoin the animals that had remained in The Saddle.


6x6 At Gilbert Viewing Area On Sunday Evening
My brother, Coy Hill of Country Captures arrived early Monday morning and 6:00 a.m. found us at the parking area at the end of Dewey Road.  A few vehicles were already parked in the lot and soon more arrived, with some towing horse trailers. For a time the parking lot was a bustling bee hive of activity. Elk County WCO Doty McDowell arrived before dawn and paused to discuss the situation. With 12 cow tags and 4 bull tags being issued for Zone 2, there was the potential for severe problems at this spot, but I was hopeful that a worse case scenario would not occur, as I had only seen guides from two different outfitters during the weekend, but this did not rule out that several tag holders operating on their own could appear.

I am sure that most readers have already read Coy's accounting of the first day's happenings, but if not go to Country Captures to read the details.

At this point I will continue with the assumption that you have read his posting and will comment a bit on the situation.

The fears of a massacre proved to be unfounded for a number of reasons, one being that as best as I can tell only two outfitters were in the saddle and there were no independent tag holders.  The outfitter that harvested the bull also had a client with a cow license.  Both animals were killed in the same time frame, with the first shot fired at the bull  being the signal for the client with the cow tag  to fire.  Each clients was escorted by an individual guide, who appeared to maintain tight control over the situation and ensured that all went smoothly.

The person that harvested the cow later in the morning was guided by a different outfitter who also appeared to operate in a very circumspect and discrete manner, and it must be emphasized that  the two groups of outfitters respected each others' operations and did not interact in a competitive manner

At no time during the weekend did I approach anyone with an elk tag or a guide and bring up the subject of hunting the elk on Winslow Hill, or even discuss elk hunting in general, but two guides did initiate discussion on the subject with me.    Each had a somewhat different outlook on the situation. (I must emphasize that everyone I encountered that guided or was associated with the guides/outfitters was courteous and respectful).

One guide was especially concerned about the prospects for a "massacre" on Winslow Hill and felt that the tame elk on Winslow Hill should not be hunted--at least on the hillside that is in plain view of the Gilbert viewing area and Winslow Hill Road.  It is my understanding that this guide did have Zone 2 tag holders, but placed them in other areas of Zone 2 and not near the viewing areas.

A guide who did participate in Monday,s happenings in The Saddle had a somewhat different take on the situation.  He stated up-front that he mostly agreed with what I have written and said about the situation in that area, but that if he didn't guide there someone else would, and since they had clients with Zone 2 tags and the saddle was in the hunt zone, then he would guide them there.  He also made the point that even though we could disagree on details that we could still get along.  I wholeheartedly agree with this, and his party and I  encountered each other several times throughout elk season, and maintained a cordial relationship.

I must emphasize again that the problem is not in most cases with the hunters and guides, or the PGC employees, but with the policy that permits this to occur.  There is no use to rehash the entire issue at this point.  If you are a newcomer to the blog, read through the archives or view  "The Truth About Pennsylvania's Elk Herd" and read and watch with an open mind.  Do not jump to the knee-jerk reaction of a few that this is anti-hunting propaganda.  It has been plainly stated quite often that we are discussing ideas that can result in a win-win situation for both the consumptive and non-consumptive user.

Elk Season Results for Monday through mid-day Thursday to be posted soon.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill

10.28.2011

2011 Pennsylvania Elk Season Nears

Foggy Morning Bull
As I write this, in only three more mornings the 2011 Pennsylvania elk season will be upon us.  With the Winslow Hill sub-herd being larger than ever, we are entering season with ten bulls and twenty cows slated to be taken from Elk Hunt Zones 2,8, 10.  I concentrate on the figures from these zones as it seems likely that a high percentage of the elk seen on Winslow Hill come from these areas--especially the bulls (cows are more likely to remain in their home range, while bulls will range further-especially during the rut..  The allocation was not increased in Zone 10 this year, but it was doubled for bulls in Zones 2, and 8. The cow allocation for Zone 2 was doubled for 2011, while it remains the same for Zones 8, and 10.

Bull Pauses From Chasing Cows
 Most will agree that there were a lot of elk on Winslow Hill during the rut, and many of them were impressive bulls, although upon close inspection it turns out that most of these ranged from 6x6s to 7x8s.  I personally did not see one of the massive, branch antlered bulls such as the bull from the late 1990s and early 2000s known as "Old One Eye", or "One Eyed Frank", or "Fred" the famous town bull at his peak.  That being said, a classically beautiful 7x8 that was seen each day during my two weeks in elk country, is very good indeed.  An experienced guide estimated that he is in the 400 class and predicted that he will be killed this year.

"One Eye" 1999: Video still capture- Canon L2 Hi-8 Camcorder
 Many of the bulls should have left the hill by now and returned to the areas where they normally live, which for a great many of them this is the Gray Hill and Spring Run areas.  Two of the largest bulls taken last year were shot in Spring Run--a 7x7 that is currently the state record typical bull, and the Crazy Legs, Jr. bull, which is why I focus on these Hunt Zones in expressing concerns about the allocations.  Perhaps the best chance for a bull's survival is if he spends the season inside someone's safety zone, or on posted property where the owner will not allow access for elk hunting.

At first glance, the ten bull allocation for these areas may not seem excessive when one considers the number of bulls seen overall, but the problem is that attention will be focused on the largest and the removal of ten large bulls from this area could severely impact the quality of bull sighted in the years to come.  In actual practice it is likely that not all hunters will hold out for a big bull.  To some a 5x5 in their sights is simply too much to pass up--especially after hunting for a day or so, but it does seem likely that most of the bull tags will be filled, as the success rate on Pennsylvania bulls usually runs in the 90%-100% range.

But so much for speculation, the allocations for this year are written in stone, the hunters have their permits and are ready to go, and the elk that will be hunted are there.  In a few short days the drama will unfold and whatever will be,will be.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

10.23.2011

Pennsylvania Elk Rut : Paul Staniszewski's Elk Viewing Guide

Mature Bull Guards Harem From Challengers
I photographed this fine bull on the first evening of my  trip to Pennsylvania elk country to photograph and film the 2011 rut.  I carried three telephoto lenses that evening--the 28-135mm, 70-200mm f2.8,  and the 300mm f2.8.  The 70-200mm would have worked fine to photograph the entire bull, but the area where he was standing did not make  the best setting for an elk portrait.  I used the 300mm f2.8 to isolate him against the nearby woods, and further improved the composition by cropping the image in photo shop.

It seems that interest in serious elk photography is increasing each year and Paul Staniszewski has written a "Guide to Photographing Elk in Pennsylvania", which you may access my visiting his website, or by clicking the link in the sidebar of this blog..  The guide features an overview of elk photograph, along with tips on photographic equipment and techniques, the best times to look for elk, and location of the public elk viewing areas.  Be sure to browse Paul's website and stop by the Elk Country Visitors Center to check out his selection of floral note-cards and wildlife photographs, which are for sale in the gift shop.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

10.08.2011

"Limpy" The Bull That Roars: A Close Look At A Mature Pennsylvania Bull

7x7 known as "Limpy" Roars
It was one of those perfect evenings on Winslow Hill during the rut of 2009 as several small and medium sized bulls ranged a meadow in pursuit of cows. As the sun dropped low on the western horizon the air was tinged with a pleasant coolness, which hinted of cold frosty nights to come.  For a time  many other photographers and elk watchers enjoyed the evening, but they left as the sun dropped below the horizon and I found myself alone with the elk.  I had almost decided to leave too, but there was a lot of bugling coming from the edge of the woods nearby and I decided to get into a better position to record audio of this spine tingling serenade.  As I drifted through the meadow I reflected on what a perfect evening it had been with the exception that I had seen no mature bulls.  I had just placed the Canon XL-H1 video camera in position to record the audio when suddenly several bulls came out of the tree line nearby following cows, which passed to my right side and circled to the hillside behind me with the bulls close behind.  All the while, the air was rent with screaming bugles.  Some of the bulls were raghorns, but others were large, mature bulls and at one point two bulls locked antlers in a violent but brief scuffle.  I had been not been aware of the  mature bulls as individual animals before this, but all were to loom large in my elk experiences during the next few years.

Mature Bull Bugles While Others Lock Antlers
 One of these animals was the bull featured in the first photo above  I was to encounter him again at The Gilbert on December 23, 2009, which was a bright, but bitter cold winter day. He and several smaller bulls spent the entire day there with a large herd of cows, basking in the bright sunlight in areas that were protected from the winds.

7x7 At Gilbert: December 23, 2009
 I was to see him again during the rut of 2010 when he spent a lot of time lying near the rental house at the Donnie Dudley rental house on Winslow Hill.  He walked with a pronounced limp and soon acquired the soubriquet of "Limpy".  Eventually he moved to The Saddle area and figured prominently in the encounter, which I and my brother Coy of Country Captures and retired PGC Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer, had with the holder of The Governor's Conservation Elk Tag and his guide on the morning of September 29th.  See , An Unpleasant Encounter In Pennsylvania Elk Country, which was originally posted on October 10, 2010.


7x7 Bull "Limpy"  September 29th 2010 Before Encounter: Video Still Canon XL-H1 W.Hill
This is one of those bulls that is very impressive indeed, but seems to have grown little if any larger since 2009.  He is also noted for his deep, throaty, rumbling bugle, which could be described as a roar. It is one of the most impressive bugles I have heard!

While one should always respect these animals and not infringe on their personal space, this bull is completely acclimated to humans and is very trusting of them. He is living proof that many Pennsylvania elk are not "as wild as any" as is often claimed.  Hopefully he will not be killed during the coming season, but if he is, it will be interesting to see how those involved try to spin this into an exciting, challenging, hunting adventure.

7x7 Lying In Woods Near Harem
 A seasoned outdoorsman who has photographed elk all over the United States, and hunted them in one of the western states discussed this situation in detail with my brother last week in Elk County.  His two major points were that these are some of the largest, most easily seen bulls anywhere in the United States including the national parks and they are also the most accepting of humans and most docile he has seen .  When discussing that 10 of the 18 bull tags issued (19 if one considers the Governor's Conservation tag)  were for the Hunt Zones that most directly influence the viewing areas on Winslow Hill (Zones 2,8, and 10)-his reaction was WHY?

To be continued along with discussion of more facets of the elk management controversy.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

10.04.2011

Pennsylvania Elk Rut 2011-Part 1

I arrived  in Pennsylvania's elk country on the afternoon of September 18th, and returned home after the morning's activity on Friday September 30th. Weather conditions were less than ideal, but rutting activity and photo/filming opportunities were outstanding.  At one time I preferred bright, sunny weather for photography, but now I like to do a substantial amount of photography  and filming in weather which has "character".  Video is especially effective when it is raining or snowing as the falling precipitation contributes to the "wild" look of the scene. As usual, there was a lot of fog at times, but this too can result in dramatic photographs as long as it is not so thick as to obscure the subject.

Early Morning Fog Adds Atmosphere To Photos And Video
Distant Herd Bull And Harem
The warm weather was actually the biggest problem as rutting activity decreases during warm periods and there were some evenings that were very disappointing.  I recall one in particular where several bulls arrived at the Gilbert viewing area, only to lie down and do little except bugle intermittently until it was too dark for good photographs.  I actually do not have many good photographs from this trip as I concentrated on video and neglected to take stills in many cases.  I am currently in the process of rough editing and archiving the video from this trip and have almost completed that which was taken with the Canon XL-H1 and  I am now about  to begin working with footage taken with the T3i.  Considering the amount and quality of video taken, this was one of the most outstanding trips to elk country I have ever had. 

Another important aspect of the trip is getting to touch base with a lot of people that one only gets to see once or twice a year and it is always good to meet blog readers and those that have seen the elk film.  In what is hopefully to be one of many meetings, Richard Coy organized a gathering and picnic at the old Benezette School pavilion on Saturday September 24th for those that discuss the Pennsylvania elk herd on Facebook. He called it "Elk Rut Shoot 2011".  After the afternoon picnic, several members of the group went to the popular viewing areas on Dewey Road for an evening of elk photography.  I already knew several of the attendees, but it was good to actually meet the others I only knew as online personalities from Facebook or the blog,. .  In the past few years I  have met many people face to face that I have corresponded with in comments on the blog, e-mails, and Facebook postings and in most if not all cases, I find them to be exactly as one expects them to be.  Most that are interested in serious wildlife photography are truly good people and this shows through in their writing and when one meets them.

Pennsylvania Elk Rut Shoot 2011; Old  Benezette School
Photographers Meet In Elk Country: Paul Staniszewski, Odie Swartz, Ron Saffer, David Anderson, Randy Quinn
I thank all of those that have purchased "The Truth About Pennsylvania's Elk Herd" and that read the blog.  The video, which was released in the fall of 2008 continues to sell well and is still pertinent to most of the issues about elk management and the hunt today.  The PGC did eliminate the combined hunt zones, which did address one of the major concerns discussed in the film, but this year they  negated that by doubling the number of bull tags issued for Hunt Zones 2 and 8, which are immediately adjacent to the elk viewing areas, but that has been discussed in the past and will hopefully be a subject for future posts.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

9.17.2011

Peak Of Pennsylvania Elk Rut Nears

Each year the woods and meadows of Pennsylvania Elk Country resound with the mighty bugle of the bull elk or wapiti as the Indians called him.  This is the time that most serious elk enthusiasts journey to Pennsylvania's northwoods to take in the sights and sounds of the rut.  The rut actually begins in late August or early September, but the tempo usually picks up considerably by mid-September and peaks around the last week of the month, with activity usually declining rapidly in early October.

With this in mind I am posting a 2minute 57 sec. video clip, which shows the highlights of the 2010 rut, although the video actually starts with two dramatic clips of elk taken during the last few days of October.  The next few scenes show clips of the famous character bull "Crazy Legs, Jr." which was killed in elk season last year.  Clips of him are interspersed with two different takes of a large collared bull, which was seen frequently at the Gilbert Viewing Area.  The number on the collar was damaged too severely to read and I have no idea what number this bull was, but it was one of the largest seen on Winslow Hill. The somewhat smaller collared bull shown is 8A. Also included are several clips of smaller bulls, and a large bull that many referred to as having a drop tine.  The video ends with a short, violent clash of antlers between two bulls shortly after dawn on the last morning of the 2010 trip.



This brief fight was taken  with the Canon 7D and a 300mm F4 lens.  It was still so dark that I had to use ISO 2000 and the video is not good quality--at least on a large screen HDTV, but is included here because it is dramatic.  All too often some of the best action occurs either too early or too late for best photo or video quality.

The video is a good sample of what one can see if they put in the time in the elk range.  I hope to see you in Pennsylvania Elk Country this fall.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

9.10.2011

More August Elk Encounters

Most who are interested in Pennsylvania's elk herd are now focused on the rut, which begins in late August and really gets underway during September.  Activity should gradually intensify, with the last two weeks of September or very early October being the best time to travel to elk country to witness the sights and sounds of the rut.  Unfortunately we do not yet have any photographs from this year's rut and are still catching up on photographs from the August trip and the western trip.

Dawn on Wednesday August 17th found me driving up Winslow Hill Road from Benezette.  At 6:30 I spied two bulls feeding on vegetation by the side of the road, so I pulled my Ford Escape to the side of the road.  I was concentrating on video this morning and had the Canon T3i with 70-200mm f2.8 mounted on the tripod and resting on soft padding in the rear of the vehicle, so I carefully exited the vehicle, got the camera set up, and began filming the animals.  A major reason that I am using the DSLRS more and more to film wildlife is that one still has the option to take high resolution still photos without using another camera and when I had enough footage, I took a few still shots of the animals when they paused from feeding to look at me.

Young Bull Pauses From Feeding In Early Morning
The Second Bull Pauses Before Vanishing Into Brush
As it grew later, the bulls vanished into the brush, headed in the direction of a meadow.  As I was to find out later, Paul Staniszewski came along about thirty minutes later and found them in the meadow.  He got two excellent photographs, which he was good enough to share with us.


Bulls Posing In Meadow
Many make the mistake of snapping a photo of animals and then quickly moving on in search of another, but patience often pays off and Paul stayed in position for awhile in hopes that something interesting would occur, and he was rewarded when they engaged in a sparring match.

Bulls Sparring-Not To Be Confused With Fighting
These are beautiful bulls, but they are not large mature bulls--not even close.  I was amazed during the August trip how many people would tell me there were two large bulls just down the road and I should go and photograph them.  I am almost certain that this is the two they were talking about and I knew I would get photos of them when the time was right, but at that time I was working a really large bull--at least for August on Winslow Hill after several years of trophy hunting, which has really hurt the resident mature bull  population.  The bull below is one of the few large resident bulls on Winslow Hill and his chances of surviving to reach his full potential are not great.


A Large Bull With The Potential To Become Exceptional If Allowed To Live



I am told by reliable sources that there are some outstanding bulls in the outlying areas and that some if not many of them should show up on Winslow Hill for the rut.  Many bulls do travel extreme distances to visit the traditional breeding grounds on Winslow Hill, but in the past there were several large bulls that lived in the immediate area the entire year.  At this point most of them have been shot in hunting season or died of old age (Fred & Bill Jr.) and have not been replaced by younger bulls as they are taken either before, or immediately when they become exceptional.


When visiting elk country be sure to look for Paul Staniszewski's  floral note cards and photographs in the Elk Country Visitor Center gift shop.  If you have not already purchased my two part documentary film, "The Truth About Pennsylvania's Elk Herd", please stop by Benezette Store and Restaurant and have them show you a portion of the film on the wide screen HDTV in the store and consider purchasing it.  The film gives a brief overall history of Pennsylvania elk, but concentrates on the period from 1995 when I first began filming elk until 2008 when the film was completed.  It gives a detailed view of the life cycle of the elk, with an emphasis on the rut.  It also covers the most famous character bulls of the period such as Fred, Bad Boy, Mean Bill, and Screamer.  The film closes by taking a look at elk management issues and the controversy surrounding the hunt.  While some things did change for the better since then, the PGC largely negated the positive changes this year by boosting the bull allocations in Zone 2 and Zone 8 this year and again unwarranted hunting pressure is being directed at the bulls that live around the viewing areas.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill

8.26.2011

A Pennsylvania Elk Season Story--Eyewitness Recounts Killing Of Well Known Bull

After a successful morning of elk photography on Wednesday of last week, I found Bob and James Shank, Ron Saffer, and Paul Staniszewski gathered in the parking lot by the ponds on Dewey Road.  For a time we had an enjoyable discussion about elk photography and cameras and soon another elk watcher and photographer arrived. I  found that he too had experienced a successful morning.  Eventually the conversation turned to last year's elk season and he told me that he had personally seen the killing of a well known "character" bull on the first day of the 2010 season.

As he related the story, he arrived in a certain area to find several bulls in a meadow that had houses and camps on every side of it.  The bulls  were surrounded by a large number of persons who appeared to be  assisting in the hunt, but no bull was shot at this point.  It seems they were keeping the animals there so that if the bull they wanted did not arrive, the person they were guiding (who had a bull tag) could kill one of these animals. One of these bulls was an extremely impressive animal and another guide who was not part of this hunting party was allegedly complaining about this party keeping the bulls from leaving the meadow so that others could not shoot any of them.

In time the famous character bull came walking from the woods by a camp on the opposite side of a township road from where the bulls were in the meadow, crossed the road, and headed  toward the general area where the other bulls were.  As he left the township road, he entered an area, which was a mixture of small to mid-sized  trees and open grasses. A portion of the  hunting party arrived and the shooter was positioned some distance from the road in this meadow..  At this point the witness estimates the bull was  about 50 yards from the shooter.  It seems he missed the animal completely with the first shot and the bull gave little to no reaction to being shot at. The shooter was then placed a few feet from that position  and he fired again--this time hitting the animal in a leg, and again there was little if any reaction to the gunfire and the bullet wound other than to move enough that the shooter had to be repositioned.  The third shot was fatal and a famous Pennsylvania bull elk was no more.

On Thursday morning the witness and I traveled to the area and he related the account again to me again as we stood near to where this all occurred.  Later in the morning another source confirmed that the bull was killed in that spot and the story as told was consistent with the accepted details of the story that they "the source" was aware of.  There were a few small details that they had not heard from others participating in the event so they could not comment on those aspects. 

This is known as a good area to see elk, so I left Benezette before dawn on Friday morning so as to be there by photographic light, but I encountered a bachelor group in a roadside meadow as day was breaking so I paused for awhile to film and photograph these animals. This turned out to be one of the best photo opportunities of the trip.

Foggy Morning 6x7-Velvet Hanging In Strips: 500mmF4
Another respectable bull was with this one along with at least two raghorns.  This one is a bit smaller, and the points are somewhat difficult to count.  Some would call him a 6x7, while others might say 6x5.  I am not sure if one of the points on the left antler is long enough to be considered a point, but I suspect it is not.  There were also two raghorns with them, but they were not photographed, although they were successfully filmed.

Bulls In Early Morning Fog: 300mm F2.8
I resumed my journey once this encounter ended and although it was growing late in the morning to see elk the fog still lingered, which increased the probability that the elk would stay in the open later than usual.  I arrived  to find a bull alternating between grazing and feeding on apples--this in the same field where the bull was killed in elk season.

Bull Feeding On Apples: 300mm F2.8
 I was filming him when several persons arrived on the scene in a pickup truck and stopped some distance away.  Soon I realized that one of them was standing beside me and he remarked that I needed to "put a set of crosshairs on that thing, and put a barrel on it and then squeeze the trigger".  With that remark he turned and walked away.  The bull went into the edge of the woods but came back out so I mounted the 300mm F2.8 on the tripod and photographed the animal.  After awhile he left the tree and headed for a nearby lawn and as he did so a vehicle came down the driveway from the house.  It was the person that lived there and he was on his way to work.  He pulled up to me and said, "take him along with you", and then told me that it had been a very dry summer and the elk had severely damaged his corn and garden and in fact a small bull was in the garden as we spoke and the one shown here today was on his way to join in.

With that it was time to head back for Benezette and then for home. I did have some more bull encounters on the way, but that is a story for another time as is an analysis of this situation.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


8.20.2011

The Velvet Is Shed As Pennsylvania Elk Rut Approaches

August is a month of change for the Pennsylvania elk herd.  The antlers complete their development in July and the velvet dries out and cracks in early to mid-August with many bulls starting the shedding process during the second week of August.  I was in Pennsylvania Elk Country from August 15th through the 19th, looking to document this process and  found what would prove to be the largest bull of the trip lying in a meadow beside Winslow Hill Road on Monday evening.

9x8 Bull Elk Starting To Shed Velvet
It is difficult to see with the size of the photo on the blog, but count forward three points from the back of the left beam and then look just below the two points that are clustered together and you can see the first bloody, partially bare patch on his antlers.  Eventually he got up, dislodged some apples from a nearby tree with his antlers, and rubbed the velvet against the limbs.  At this point one could also see some blood and partially bare areas on the other antler as well.

I found him in the same spot at dawn on Tuesday morning and the shedding was much more advanced, but he still had a long way to go.

Bare Spots Are Larger Next Morning With Strips Of Velvet Hanging Loose
I was at this meadow at dawn on Thursday morning , but he was not there so I went on the Hick's Run viewing area where I saw a lot of whitetail deer, but sometime after I left  well known elk watcher and photographer Lamie Wheler saw him crossing the meadow and took a series of photos of  him as he violently rubbed an autumn olive bush less than twenty yards from the road.  This was exactly what I wanted to film with the video camera, but alas I was in the wrong place.  Later in the morning I encountered him at the edge of some woodlands and only a few strips of velvet remained.

Shedding Almost Complete On Thursday Morning
I checked the meadow again that evening as dusk was falling and he was moving across it in such a manner that  it was obvious that he was not going to linger long enough to take still photographs so I mounted the Canon XL-H1 camcorder and got a a few video clips before he vanished from sight.  As best as I could tell the antlers were completely bare by this point.  All of the above photos were taken with the Canon 500mmF4 IS.  The first two are with the Canon 7D and the third with the T3i.

I hope to post more photographs from the trip over the next few days, but the trip was not only about photography, but  elk management issues as well. With the annual  drawing for elk licenses being held in September and elk season being held from October 31--November 5th and the extended season from November 7th through the 12th--there is is quite a bit of talk about the events of the past season and the decision to issue 10 of the 18 bull tags for Zone 2, 8, and 10 this year.  These are the zones that most directly impact the areas where most visitors look for elk.  If one includes the special conservation tag, this means a total of 11 of the bulls that frequent the center of elk related tourism could be killed.  With hunter success rate running between approximately 90-100% on bulls this effectively means that there is a high possibility that at least 10 of the bulls that you see on Winslow Hill this September will be dead by mid-November.

As disturbing as this is, it was eclipsed by an eyewitness account of the killing of a bull during the past season.  I hope to share at least portions of this story in the next post.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.



7.23.2011

Capturing The Special Moments

6x8 In Reverting Meadow
In the last Post, I briefly mentioned that Paul Staniszewski, a frequent contributor to this blog,  has a website, "The At of Elk Photography". The site contains information on his Floral Macro Photog and Elk Photography, a map of the Benezette Area, a guide to photographing elk geared toward the new visitor to elk country, and a link to the PA Wilds website.  Paul reminds us that the site is under construction and the finished product is a long way off, but  he is off to a good start so be sure to visit his site.To do so click Here!

During my recent trip to Pennsylvania Elk Country I only saw one fairly impressive rack bull on Winslow Hill, but I saw him every morning at dawn.  He seldom missed stopping by this apple tree before heading into the nearby woodlands to escape the heat of day. There was a good reason why that he stopped by this tree and it is one of those things that the dedicated nature photographer is always looking for.  If you just drive up and snap a photo out the window and then drive away, you usually miss the special moments, but one must often work a situation as long as conditions are good, to capture the special moments. In this instance it was fascinating to watch him use the top of his antlers to knock small apples off of the tree so that he could feed on them.

Bull Uses Antlers To Dislodge Apples
Bull Strains To Reach Apples

This 6x8 is not an exceptional, nor yet a mature bull, but he is a good step above a raghorn.  Like all bulls on Winslow Hill, this one is trusting of humans. Two large but completely acclimated bulls have been killed near this spot in elk season during recent years.  Now the PGC has launched a public relations offensive in Game News with the last two issues, each carrying a story about Pennsylvania Elk hunting, in an attempt to portray this as a challenging, fair chase hunt, which it may be in some cases but especially not in the areas of Zone 2 on or in close proximity to Winslow Hill .  With the license allocation increasing in both Zone 2 and Zone 8 by two bulls each, the chances for this animal reaching an exceptional size are slim.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


7.20.2011

Sinnemahoning Visitor's Facility To Open: by Paul Staniszewski

Sinnemahoning State Park Visitor Facility: Photo by Paul Staniszewski-all rights reserved

A new jewel has been added to the crown of the Pennsylvania Wilds Elk Scenic Drive.The official name is the Sinnemahoning State Park - Visitor Facility and it is located 5 miles from the boat launch located at the George B. Stevenson Dam on a scenic road that parallels the First Fork Branch of the Sinnemahoning Creek.

According to Lisa Bainey, Park Manager, the Visitor Facility is completed and they are waiting for furniture to
be delivered by the end of the month and that the official dedication and opening will be sometime in mid-August.

The cost of the facility is $3,782,000.00 and will include a large exhibit/interpretive area, classrooms, visitor services and park administration.The building was placed to take full advantage of views of nearby elk herd feeding plots and other wildlife. Also, the 142 acre Stevenson Dam is known to be the home to a pair of year-round nesting eagles and various waterfowl that can be observed from the boat launch area.. The new Visitors Center is approximately 30 miles from Benezette and represents some of Pennsylvania's most pristine wilderness and is well worth the trip.

Story and photo by Paul Staniszewski. For more information about Paul's photography, elk photography tips, and more, visit Paul's website: The Art Of Elk Photography.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill

7.18.2011

Mid-Summer Elk Calf Photography in Pennsylvania Elk Country


PGC Food Plots Cloaked In Heat And Haze of Mid-Summer Evening
I spent most of last week photographing and filming wildlife in Pennsylvania Elk Country with a primary focus on calf elk and bulls in velvet.  The PGC had completed most if not all of their summer mowing program on SGL 311 on Winslow Hill by the end of the week.  With sufficient moisture the grass soon grows enough that it provides excellent forage for wildlife and is more pleasing in appearance, but with the region  suffering from a severe drought, many of the food plots that had been mowed had a burned desolate appearance and little wildlife was to be seen in them. Even without rain this should improve to a certain extent in the weeks to come, but a soaking rain  would make the meadows explode with life.

There were a lot of cows and calves to be seen, but photographic conditions were extremely difficult as most of the encounters occurred when it was too early or too late for the cameras to work well, or the range was too long or the cover too tall.  Most of the elk were attracted to the grain that is planted in the reclaimed areas of The Saddle and in many areas it was too tall to see the calves.  I finally found several calves in a good situation early Friday morning. 

I had seen them near the ponds on Dewey Road on one other morning and again on Thursday evening, so this seemed like the best chance for success on Friday morning, but first I checked a nearby meadow where I had seen a bull throughout the week and he was there. Paul Staniszewski arrived shortly after I did and we photographed the bull for a short time, but I left for the ponds as soon as possible so as to get there before sunrise.  There was a large herd of cows and calves in the meadow around one of the ponds.   Initially I filmed the elk with a Canon Rebel T3i and the 500mmF4, but then decided to try for still photographs and mounted the 7D and 500mmF4 on the Gitzo tripod with Wimberley Head and the XL-H1 video camera on the video tripod.  It is hard enough to get either good stills or video segments, but just try alternating between the two sometime or even shooting both simultaneously.   It is difficult, but regardless of this,  I did get some acceptable photographs and video clips.

Calf Nursing On Pond Bank: Note light fog on reeds and grasses to left of elk.

Paul soon arrived and got some photographs, but soon the rays of the sun  touched the tree tops, and before long the elk went into the hollow between Dewey Road and the food plot to the south.  We were discussing the results of the morning shoot when Paul said, "look there", and two calves came running onto the  pond bank directly across from us. I quickly framed one of them and took several photographs.

Calf Standing On Pond Bank
Calf  Reverses Direction
At this point I realized the other calf was not in sight and looked to my left, searching for him.  Paul was frantically firing away at another spot and I suddenly realized I was missing the best action of all as the other calf was drinking from the pond!  I tried to compose the shot, but there was too much grass between me and the calf.  Taking a few steps to the side helped somewhat and then the calf lifted its' head and I was able to capture it with a water droplet dripping from its' chin.

Calf  After Drinking
The calf did not return to drinking but rather in a few moments rejoined its' companion on the pond bank and together they went into the woods to escape the searing rays of the sun as the rest of the herd had already done.

Originally Posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

7.08.2011

Excellent Mid-Summer Photo Opportunites In Benezette Area

With summer well underway, there are plenty of excellent photo opportunities in the Benezette area, with the young calves and the bulls with their velvet covered racks being the main attraction. Antlers growth is rapid and they  already were quite large by mid-June, when Paul Staniszewski photographed a fine bull shortly after dawn on Winslow Hill.

Bulls Have Substantial Antler Growth By Mid-June: Photo by Paul Staniszewski-all rights reserved
By early July they are almost completely developed with most if not all of the points the animal will grow being present and  most of the antler mass is developed.  From now on growth will  mostly be a further increase in mass, and the tines will become sharper.  On Tuesday, Paul was on his way to the Elk Country Visitor Center to replenish his stock of elk and flower cards and framed larger format photographs, which are for sale in the gift shop, when he encountered an impressive bull by the roadside on Gray Hill.

Mature Bull On Gray Hill: Photo by Paul Staniszewski-all rights reserved

This is one of the few "character" bulls remaining and is known as Mr. Attitude, by several elk watchers and photographers.  This bull has spent a lot of time in downtown Benezette and is totally acclimated to humans.  It seems certain that he spends a substantial part of the year , if not all of it in the No Hunt Zone, Hunt Zones 2, and 8, and possibly Hunt Zone 10. With four bull tags issued for hunt zone 2 , 4 for zone 8, and two for Zone 10, this means that most likely TEN bulls will be shot in the areas immediately surrounding the center of elk tourism on Winslow Hill, since the success rate on bulls seems to range from 90%--100% and one can be certain that it will be the largest bulls that will be shot if they are seen.

Bearing this in mind, tourists and photographers should enjoy seeing this animal while they can, as it is not likely he will live to see another year unless he is lucky enough to stay in the No Hunt Zone or be on property where elk hunting is not allowed, during the elk season.

I thank Paul for sharing these photographs.  When visiting the area, be sure to check out his merchandise, along with that of many other artisans at the Elk Country Visitor Center.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

6.30.2011

Pennsylvania Elk Management: Tourism and Hunting

It Isn't Always "A Warden": Photo by W.Hill
Most people automatically think of lawn enforcement when they see a truck with Pennsylvania Game Commission Decals and assume that this is "the  game warden" whose primary mission as they perceive it is to "catch people".  It is also quite common for many to not be able to differentiate between  Pennsylvania Game Commission and DCNR personnel and operations.  Both misconceptions are very understandable--especially the last one, as in many if not most states one agency oversees outdoor/nature related matters, while here in Pennsylvania three agencies fulfill this mission.

The Fish and Boat Commission enforces laws  pertaining to waterways, boating, and fishing, and  the taking of reptiles and amphibians., DCNR maintains State Forests and Parks and has both a maintenance and enforcement branch, while the Game Commission is responsible for  the maintenance of State Game Lands, and the enforcement of wildlife laws throughout the Commonwealth.  To compound the confusion officers from any of these agencies may in most cases enforce laws and regulations pertaining to the other agencies and all of the agencies have maintenance crews that may drive vehicles with door decals.  For many years most PGC vehicles were green, as were most DCNR vehicles.  This helped differentiate them from Fish and Boat Commission personnel,who usually drove  white vehicles, but this distinction has blurred in recent years as  it is common to see other colors in the PGC--especially in the land management division--I am not quite sure about the other agencies.

The upshot is that in many cases the person you thought is the "game warden" is not a law enforcement officers at all, or at least law-enforcement is not the primary focus of their duties. They may be a biologist, forester, maintenance worker, or land management officer.  The land management officer does in most if not all cases have law-enforcement powers, but the others do not--unless they are deputy wildlife conservation officers. Actually there is officially no such thing as a game warden anymore, Wildlife Conservation Officer is the correct term, but to many they are still "the wardens".

To understand this better, let's start in Harrisburg where PGC operations is divided into several bureaus, each covering a particular group of activities.  The names have changed since my days with the PGC, when I performed duties for the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Law Enforcement.  Today they are known as the Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management and the Bureau of Wildlife Protection.  The state is divided into six regions, with each region having a regional office and chiefs of each of the respective areas of operations who are known as Supervisors.  From this point of we will confine our discussion to wildlife habitat management or "land management" as I still think of it.  The regional Land Management Supervisor directs a group of Land Management Officers also known as Game Lands Maintenance Group Supervisors. Commonly called Land Management Officers (LMOs). They are responsible for game lands maintenance and habitat development in two or more counties.  LMOs supervise  Game Lands Maintenance Groups, which are usually comprised of two to three crews of Game Lands Maintenance Workers, who in turn are supervised by a Game Lands Maintenance Supervisor, also commonly known as a Labor Foreman.

Game Commission maintenance crews are called "The Food and Cover Corps", a name which is not commonly known to many outside the agency.  It is these people that you see mowing and planting the food plots on Winslow Hill.  John Dzemyan is Land Management Officer for portions of Elk and McKean Counties and oversees the PGC lands on Winslow Hill, while Land Management officer Colleen Shannon is assigned to portions of Cameron, Clearfield, Clinton,  Elk, and McKean Counties, much of which is prime elk habitat.

Land Management Officer John Dzemyan Addresses Wild About Elk Workshop 2010: photo by W.Hill
In the last few years, quite a bit of planting has been done in conjunction with the reclamation work that has transformed Winslow Hill.  To the best of my knowledge this was not done by the PGC, but any future work that is done will likely be performed by the Food and Cover Corps.  The summer mowing is done by them, as is the yearly planting of the food plot at the main Gilbert viewing area, the plot by the cabin on the hill. and the food plot at the Dent's Run Viewing Area.

Game Lands Maintenance Worker, PGC Food and Cover Corp, prepares plot at Gilbert for planting: photo W.Hill

PGC Food Plot To Right Of Cabin on Winslow Hill: Photo by W.Hill
As a result of the reclamation work and food plots maintained by the PGC, there are now more good grasses on the hill than at any time in recent memory. This attracts elk from other areas and helps keep the animals there. While a certain amount would be there even through no work were done, animals naturally search out the best food available. But after a few years, the most attractive grasses such as, clovers, and trefoil  die out in the meadows and they lose much of their appeal to elk. At that point a certain amount of elk would likely disperse from Winslow Hill if they could find better food in another area.  As a result, the PGC conducts an aggressive planting and mowing program to maintain the quality of wildlife habitat on Game Commission lands, while DCNR workers perform the same function on State Forest Lands.

Game Lands Maintenance Worker, Roger Beck, Mows SGL 311 near Winslow Hill Parking Lot: Photo by W.Hill
Many may ask why that areas should be mowed and in many cases the PGC does not mow an entire plot, but does leaves strips of grasses standing..  The problem is that if no maintenance is done, the opening eventually reverts to forest, which results in the loss of grassy, open habitat that elk and other species need for ideal living conditions.  From the standpoint of wildlife photography, had the area in the photo below not been mowed, only the top of the cow's back would have been visible, while  the mowing benefits the welfare of the elk, by removing the mature, coarse grass stem and stimulating the growth of the low lying base of the plant offering improved grazing.

Mowing May Enhance Photographic Opportunities:  Photo by W.Hill
LMO Dzemyan gave a very informative presentation on land management in the elk range at the Wild about Elk Workshop that I attended in 2010. In the future I hope to periodically delve into this a bit more by covering more of the material that he dealt with that day and also take us into the current Management Plan For Elk In Pennsylvania.  I hope to use photos I have taken to illustrate some of the management principles, that LMO Dzemyan discussed, and the plan sets forth, to give readers a better understanding of the overall strategy and methods which the PGC implements to maintain habitat in the elk range.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.