Sunday, September 14, 2014

Whitetail Bucks Shed Velvet

Whitetail Buck Lip-Curls As Pre-rut Begins
Most whitetail bucks shed there velvet in a period ranging from late August through mid-September. This buck still had velvet on September 2nd, but a close look revealed that the velvet was dried and cracked looking.  By September 7th, small bloody areas and bare spots were visible.

Shedding Is About To Occur
He still had velvet at dawn on September 9th, but I have no still photos at that point as I was filming the deer with the Panasonic GH4 as he alternated between feeding and grooming.  Suddenly the time was at hand and he walked to a group of nearby hay bales and attacked them violently.  Again all of this was filmed, but no stills were taken.  The video is not the best quality as it was still too early for good light, but I hope to post a short clip  in the near future.  I took a still photo of the bales after the action was over.

Hay Bales After Buck Attacked Them
I did get some still photos after the action was over.  Unfortunately as a result of using the bale instead of a a tree or brush to loosen the velvet, the buck ended up with a tangle of vines and baler twine caught in his antlers.

Vines And Baler Twine Tangled In Antlers
At this point there was still a lot of velvet on the antlers and for some time he ran about the meadows trailing a stream of vines behind him as he went.  I have not seen anything like this in over forty years of whitetail deer photography.

I saw the buck again that evening and the velvet and vines were gone, but a tangle of baler twine remained.

A Tangle Of Twine
I was a bit concerned at this point as the tangle seemed so severe that I was afraid he could not dislodge the twine.Luckily he was able to free it from his antlers eventually.

With the shedding completed pre-rut activity such as sparring and lip-curling becomes more common and will continue throughout the fall with activity growing more intense until things explode as the full-blown rut begins and bucks are more visible than at any other time of year as they frantically chase does and compete with other bucks for dominance.

Bucks Spar As Pre-rut Begins

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

PGC & RMEF To Dedicate Woodring Farm September 13th

9x8 At Woodring Property Rut 2009
PRIME ELK HABITAT TO BE DEDICATED
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to dedicate 81 acres at Saturday ceremony.

Source: PA Game Commission News Advisory

The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation announce the dedication of 81 acres of prime elk habitat known as the Woodring Farm on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 10 a.m.

Parcel Location
The land is located at 2702 Winslow Hill Road, Benezette Pa., 15821.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Since 1991, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and its partners completed 301 conservation and hunting outreach projects in Pennsylvania with a combined value of more than $22.6 million. The RMEF has made 10 land-acquisition purchases that opened or secured public access to 8,465 acres. About 11,000 Pennsylvanians are RMEF members.

Directions
From state Route 555 in Benezette, turn onto Front Street, then turn right onto Winslow Hill Road. Follow Winslow Hill Road approximately 2.6 miles. The dedication will take place at the red house on the left. 
Former Maynard Woodring Residence

Calf Elk On Woodring Property
Sunset Over The Woodring Farm
Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

PA Elk Rut Underway/PGC Announces Fall 2014 Schedule For Viewing Areas


Elk At Winslow Hill/Porcupine Run Viewing Area-September 2013
The Pennsylvania elk rut begins in late August and continues through October, with the peak activity being from mid-September into early October.  Elk Country Visitor Center provides an excellent starting point  for first time visitors, but much of the best elk viewing is on the State Game Lands on Winslow Hill.  The PGC maintains the Winslow Hill/ Porcupine Run and Dents Run Viewing Areas.  When driving up Winslow Hill, past the entrance to the Visitor Center, the Winslow Hill/Porcupine Run area is to the left at the intersection with Dewey Road.  This is perhaps the best for seeing elk at close distance to the road.

Bull Herding Cows At Winslow Hill/Porcupine Run 2013
 Many long time visitors to the elk range still call this ""The Gilbert Viewing Area" or "The Gilbert Farm" as Kenny Gilbert owned it for many years before selling to a consortium of conservation organizations

The Dents Run Viewing Area looks over a large meadow on a distant hillside.  It is picturesque, but most photo opportunities there are at long range.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is conducting activities at the viewing areas on the weekends  throughout September and early October. The public will have the opportunity to chat with representatives of the agency and special informational programs will be provided.

PGC Personnel  At 2013 Elk Expo

Fall Schedule

September 5
4:00 PM-Dark: Visit with the PGC (Winslow Hill Viewing Area)
Saturday September 6
4:00 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Winslow Hill Viewing Area)
8:00 PM - Dark: Campfire (Dents Run Viewing Area)
8:30 PM - 9:00: Campfire Program “Coyotes” (Dents Run Viewing Area) … bring a camp chair if you have one

Friday September 12
3:30 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Winslow Hill Viewing Area)
3:30 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Dents Run Viewing Area)

Saturday September 13
3:30 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Winslow Hill Viewing Area)
3:30 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Dents Run Viewing Area)
7:30 PM - Dark: Campfire (Dents Run Viewing Area)
8:00 PM – 8:30: Campfire Program “Sounds of the night” (Dents Run Viewing Area) …
bring   a camp chair if you have one
 
Friday September 19
3:30 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Winslow Hill Viewing Area)
3:30 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Dents Run Viewing Area)

Saturday September 20
1:00 PM – PGC Program “Monarch Butterflies” (Elk Country Visitor’s Center0
3:30 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Winslow Hill Viewing Area)
3:30 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Dents Run Viewing Area)


Friday September 26
3:30 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Winslow Hill Viewing Area)
3:30 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Dents Run Viewing Area)


Saturday September 27
3:30 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Winslow Hill Viewing Area)
3:30 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Dents Run Viewing Area)
7:30 PM - Dark: Campfire (Dents Run Viewing Area)
8:00 PM – 8:30: Campfire Program “Into to Geocaching” (Dents Run Viewing Area) … bring a camp chair if you have one
Followed by an optional “Night Cache” filled with PGC Goodies

OCTOBER
Friday October 3
3:00 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Winslow Hill Viewing Area)
Saturday October 4
3:00 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Winslow Hill Viewing Area)
7:00 PM - Dark: Campfire (Dents Run Viewing Area)
7:30 PM – 8:00: Campfire Program “Pennsylvania Owls” (Dents Run Viewing Area)
Sunday October 5
11:00 AM: Pavillion Program “Wildlife Sign” (Dents Run Viewing Area)
Friday October 10
3:00 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Winslow Hill Viewing Area)
Saturday October 11
3:00 PM – Dark: Visit with the PGC (Winslow Hill Viewing Area)
            7:00 PM - Dark: Campfire (Dents Run Viewing Area)
7:30 PM – 8:00: Campfire Program “Pennsylvania Bats” (Dents Run Viewing Area)
Sunday October 12
1:00 – 4:00: Driving Tour of SGL 311 (Beginning at the bottom of Dewey Road at gate.

A special thanks to PGC Northcentral Region Information & Educations Supervisor Doty McDowell for providing the information.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

RED



Saturday, August 23, 2014

More About Winslow Viewing Area Changes

I have learned a bit more about the coming changes to the Porcupine Run? Winslow Hill Viewing Area. First I took more pictures of the design.  This one does not show as much of the area, but is a closer view of the segment of the drawing next to Winslow Hill Road and it shows faintly where the current  Dewey Road is in relation to things.

Old Dewey Road is along tree line
Fellow photographer, Tom Dorsey superimposed the above information on a Google Map and also put in where the current location of things are.  Tom has posted this on Facebook and he was gracious enough to share it  with us.


 Tom writes,"I have color coded my image to better explain":

The yellow dots show the new road that will come off of Winslow Hill Rd and turn left just before the current viewing area pull-off. This will then connect to the lower part of Dewey Rd just above the old Gilbert Farm and will allow access to the rest of Dewey Rd.

The large Gray area is the new parking area that looks to be at least double the size of the current one. To get into that parking area you will need to follow the new access road also dotted with Yellow.
The Orange dots show the current Dewey road and parking area that will no longer exist".

The photo below is likely the the general location of the first viewing area , while the second or lower viewing area would be just beyond the end of the row of tall trees to the right.

Likely location of upper viewing area and with restroom facilities closeby
Here is a view of the area the second viewing area will cover taken from the hillside in the distance in the photo above, which is known as "The Saddle".

Lower viewing area is likely somewhat past where road emerges from tree line
As of yet we do not know if there will be a pull-off area along Dewey Road from the point where the new roadway rejoins the old so that one can photograph from that area. If stopping or parking is forbidden it still seems likely that one could stand along the roadway.  If there is no provision for this, much of the photography in this area will be at long range.

I have also been told that work on this is to begin in Mid-October.  Also it seems likely the PGC will take a much more active role in the tourism aspect of the elk program. There is a strong possibility  that a  maintenance crew headquarters will be established on Winslow Hill with the crew concentrating on maintaining the wildlife habitat and facilities in the area.

 I must emphasize that this is my interpretation of what I have seen in writing and what I have been told. There is room for error or the plan may be fine-tuned and changed somewhat as it goes along.

A special thanks to Tom Dorsey of Tom Dorsey Imagery for contributing to today's post!

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.