|Bull Elk Follows Cow: Reclaimed Area Of SGL 311: Grasses planted among cover crop of grain.|
As an example, I recall that in late summer of 2006 the reclaimed area between the Maynard Woodring property and Elk View Diner (this had been an area of slag piles, etc. but was now a meadow) was covered with a carpet of luscious grasses including different varieties of clovers and trefoil and a large number of elk were attracted to the area.
|Area Near Elk View Diner Carpeted With Clover And Trefoil: Photo by W.Hill|
This has remained a good spot to see elk, but it was not used nearly as much last fall as in the period from 2006-2009, and the reason is that the more desirable varieties of grass were dying out, while freshly planted reclaimed areas near Dewey Road, The Saddle, and at The Elk Country Visitor Center, attracted the lions share of the elk. The PGC has also traditionally planted at least one food plot at the Dent's Run Viewing Area (the one with the information center) and usually one or two at The Gilbert. This has served to keep elk coming to these areas in most years, but I do not think it is sufficient to attract and hold the 150-200 animals that the PGC says is in the area at present, so regardless as to whether or not they shoot more elk on Winslow Hill, you likely won't see as many there in the not too distant future, unless the PGC maintains an aggressive planting program in the area.
|PGC Prepares Food Plot For Planting At Gilbert Viewing Area|
|Remote Reclaimed Area Of SGL 311: In 2007 this and plots at RMEF attracted many elk usually seen At Gilbert and Dent's Run Viewing Areas|
The bottom line is that it seems likely that this herd will disperse to a certain extent, if not a great deal, once this bonanza of high quality food is gone. In the meantime the PGC has started down the slippery slope of increasing license allocations in the area. If they were concerned only about elk over-population as they claim, why has pressure been substantially increased on the bulls also? I fully understand that many of the bulls that one sees on Winslow Hill during the rut, come from other areas to Winslow Hill and are in another area entirely when hunting season arrives, but with that being said there were a substantial number of large bulls that did make that general area their year around range and most of these animals have been shot. In some years, Pennsylvania has a 100% success rate on bulls and it is seldom much less than that, so in effect this means it is highly likely that eight more of the bulls that frequent the tourist areas will be killed this fall.
From my point of view, it is amazing that we overshot the whitetail buck population to the extent that the PGC enacted antler restrictions to enable more bucks to live long enough to grow somewhat better antlers, yet we seem hell bent on killing the exceptional bull elk and making the same mistake with them that we did with the deer.
In the near future, I plan to further explore how and why we have arrived at this point in Pennsylvania Elk Management.
Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill