Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pennsylvania Elk Video Clip with Narration and Music

It was late September, the peak of the rut, and Billie Cromwell and I were in Elk County recording the action. We were both shooting our Canon L2s.

On this particular morning we were traveling separately but were in the same general area. Suddenly I heard a tremendous amount of bugling just out of sight and I walked to a vantage point so as to see the cause of the disturbance. There were a few cow elk with several bulls in hot pursuit. I have seen such a frenzied spectacle only a few times in my years of recording elk.

The bulls represented a good cross section of Pennsylvania bull elk with at least two mature bulls in their prime, up and coming young bulls, and at least two bulls that were old and had less massive antlers than in previous years.

I videotaped the action from the top of a hill while Billie and others photographed them from another angle at the foot of the hill.

If you look closely there is a beautiful young bull in the third elk segment of the video clip. This is Fred who would be collared and numbered bull 36 quite a few years later. This was his first year with a branch antlered rack.

As far as I know, Hal Korber was the first man to incorporate footage of a full moon with elk bugling into a video production. Although I treat the subject a bit differently here, his work was the inspiration for the moon shot which begins the clip.

All of the segments in this clip were shot with the 400mm Spiratone Lens on the Canon L2.

I used the copyright insignia and closing credits to show the type of work I do, but I didn’t title the short clip. This is the type of work I hope to incorporate into my elk video, although this segment will not be included as edited here but portions of it will likely be used.

The clip is slightly over two minutes in length and is most likely impossible to view with a dial-up connection.


Old Wom Tigley said...

WOW... fantastic stuff Willard... I've been around the block a bit in my time, made a living at times by using my fists... folks where I live still concider me a bit of a 'handfull' even though I'm well past it. Well Willard I'm telling you now this old 'handfull' was close to tears by this clip... I felt the excitement and emotion of the capture. The noise was something else... if I had any hair on the top of my head it would have stood up....
Great Post Willard it's not often I get moved in such a way.

dot said...

That was really something! Something is wrong with my speakers and altho I have them turned wide open I could barely hear the sound so I'm sure I missed a great deal.

imac said...

Stunned Willard, I really enjoyed this film, would loved to have seen it in person.Very moving to see this wonderous site.

Visit me and see the Unusual!!

Dave said...

That's fantastic footage and editing. I didn't think the moon shot was necessary, but whatever. Thanks so much for sharing your work with the world and helping to spread the word about the Pennsylvania elk.


Willard said...


I would agree that the moon shot isn't necessary, but it is based on cold, clear, moonlight nights being the best time to hear a lot of bulls bugling and it is a spine tingling experience to be out on such a night.
Perhaps it would be best in a longer video to lay the groundwork for that shot by stating the above.

At any rate, thanks for the good comment and your input.

Dave said...

Oh, I see. Yeah, in that context I wouldn't have a problem with it.

By the way, I'm in charge of lining up programs for the Juniata Valley Audubon Society, which is based in the Altoona area. If and when your elk video is complete, I'd be very interested in having you present it for us, presuming that would be within our budget.

Always good to find out about another PA nature blogger, especially one from my neck of the woods. I'll be reading.

Willard said...


That is a definite possibility. Keep in touch and we should be able to work something out.

I was likewise pleased to find another nature blogger nearby.
Keep in touch. (I am in Fulton County-about a two hour drive from your area)

Anonymous said...

Hi Willard. I really enjoy your video work! This clip was really interesting with the mature bulls. Good shot of the moon too and very effective with the bugleing--a good combination and lead-in IMO. I'm looking forward to more of your posts.

Jack Manack Jr. (ELK CO OUTFITTERS) said...

Loved the video and pictures, but I'm confused with your comments that ,today one can only dream of encounters like that. I know from the rest of your site that you don't have a positive outlook on the elk hunting seasons, but I hope your not refering to you seeing less mature bulls as a result of the hunt. What exactly do you think the reasons are that your not having these encounters?
Jack (ECO)

Willard said...


Thanks for commenting, it is much appreciated!

There are plenty of raghorns, 6x6s, and 7x7s, but I am not seeing as many truly large bulls. I know of three. All of these are completely acclimated to humans and are not suitable targets for a fair chase hunt. I am sure there are others out there, but they are much more difficult to see than in the past. It takes over seven years for a bull to reach full potential. If they are killed as 6x6s-7x7s. etc., they never have that chance.

If you bear with me, I will show several examples of what I am trying to say in the near future.