Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Where's The Elk

It is a straight shot from Bedford, Pennsylvania up Interstate 99 to Bald Eagle and then a short trip over the Allegheny Front to Phillipsburg. A few more miles, and one travels past Interstate 80 and then turns on a secondary road. From there the remainder of the trip passes through back country Pennsylvania-a world far removed from the strip malls and subdivisions that are common elsewhere. While there certainly are developments in the area, most buildings are either scattered rural residences or summer and weekend homes.
When I first visited the area in 1995 there were no signs identifying the elk range, but this has changed with Governor Rendell’s emphasis on tourism in the north woods.


I headed out for my annual excursion to Elk County at mid-day on Sunday September 16th and there was quite a bit of traffic headed south on the Quehanna Highway. This was the weekend of the “Elk Expo”, an event celebrating the elk and in particular where the drawing was held to determine who would receive hunting licenses for the elk season this fall, and for the early month long September season in 2008 which is held in high crop damage areas near St Mary’s. This is a lottery type event where prospective hunters must pay in advance and the fee is non-refundable. With the festivities over, most tourists were headed home.
Usually there is a large crowd at the viewing areas on weekend mornings and evenings, but I was surprised to find very little activity. The answer was soon evident. There were no elk to be seen. At first I thought this was a fluke but this turned out to be the way it was each and every day at the popular elk viewing areas.

The Gilbert Viewing Area, known as “The Gilbert”.
Usually an elk hot spot, it was only an empty meadow.

Bull Elk Bugling
According to The Pennylsvania Game Commission, an estimated 75,000 people visit the elk range each year in September and October, which coincides with the mating season known as the rut. This is the most exciting time to see elk as the bulls run about bugling and sometimes fighting. The elk have proved to be a year around attraction as well and there is now significant tourism at all times of years.
This year; however, the common refrain was, “Where’s The Elk”. Keep checking back to find the answer.

8 comments:

photowannabe said...

Hi, I'm here from Salty's blog and thouroughly enjoyed your posts. You are showing me an animal I know little about and doing it in such an interesting way.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Another one of Salty's bar flys..
I will need to call back really soon Willard and spend some quality time reading and viewing.. in the mean time I will link back to here from Wiggers World so I don't forget.

Chad Oneil said...

What a great Bugling beast!

Faye Pekas said...

Hi Willard, Salty sent me over :)

You have some great shots here. Elk and deer are such beautiful animals.

Welcome to the wonderful world of bloggers. Nice to see the Salty family of bloggers is expanding.

Scarlet said...

Amazing pictures. I need to get out of Florida and see the real world!

Old Wom Tigley said...

Looking forward to more visits and reading your views on hunting, now then 'Where them Elk Go?

Mike said...

I came over from Salty's place Willard. Great site and I love your pictures! Welcome and I will be back again.

Mike

Gretchen said...

Great shot of the elk bugling.

I have never had any luck finding elk at the viewing areas. I always think the elk are sitting just inside the tree line looking at all the silly humans and laughing.

I live in Elk Co, so trips to Benezette are often. My best elk shot was when a HUGE bull walked past the building I was covering a meeting in. The Township Supervisor stopped the meeting to let me know it was out there and I should go chase it. :)