Monday, April 28, 2008

Pennsylvania Elk-"A Moment To Remember"

I have been lax at blogging for the last few days as I have been devoting much of my time to video editing, which is extremely time consuming. Billie Cromwell has rendered much assistance in researching the elk video that I am working on. During the course of our consultations, he has shared many interesting experiences. He also provided me with some video footage and gave permission to share it on the blog.

It was in the latter part of September in 1994 and Billie Cromwell was in Elk County, recording the elk rut. From his first trips to the elk range until 1993, Billie used Minolta SRT cameras with an assortment of lenses, the most powerful being a Vivitar 400mm f5.6. There was a lot of rain and cloudy weather in 1993 and Billie had little luck getting the pictures he wanted with the still camera, so he returned home and purchased a small Sony 8mm Handycam, camcorder.

I started shooting video in 1990 with a monstrous Sharp VHS, camcorder. The Sony had equal or better picture quality and was very easy to carry. Billie returned to Elk County with it and got some footage that fall, but the investment really paid off in 1994, when he had several excellent encounters with large bulls.

This experience encouraged him to upgrade to the Canon L2 in 1995 and led to his participation in the filming of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Elk Video,"Pennsylvania Elk: Reclaiming The Alleghenies". This footage also impressed me so much that I thought of little else, and I visited the elk range for the first time on President's Day of 1995 and returned for a one day scouting trip in August. I returned for about a week at the end of September.

It is possible that I would not be interested in elk today had Billie not taken this footage.

In today's post we see a short section of an encounter with a mature bull in a remote mountain meadow. Elk are usually more active in early morning and late evening and this is especially true of animals in the remote areas.

It was a long, difficult hike to the meadow and for a time it seemed that it was wasted effort except for enjoying the splendid mountain scenery, but as it was growing late, a large herd of cows and the bull emerged from the woodlands and approached Billie's position. He was in an opening in a hedgerow between two food plots with a cow behind him. The monster walked in to close range and stared at Billie. This type of experience is not to be taken lightly and Billie gave a great sigh of relief when the elk turned away and bugled instead of trying the come through the opening.

Special Note: Unless your connection is exceptionally fast it works best to let the video play through once, which on my computer is jerky with broken audio. Replay it to watch it seriously and it should play smoothly. (I don't think there is any chance it will work with dial-up.)

Footage courtesy of Billie G. Cromwell PGC Retired

Hopefully in the near future I will be able to post another short segment or two on these video clips from the early years.


Old Wom Tigley said...

Wow.. how good that must have felt.. When the bull saw him there and seemed to set him it must have been a touch frightening.. great moment to have captured.


fishing guy said...

Willard: Thanks for sharing a wonderful moment with the elk. It was well captured and shown with a nice naration. Well done.

Stacey Huston said...

Willard, Great post.. Wonderful video! I think a elk buggling in the wild is something that EVERYONE should experince. Just not the same as on tape. I always tell people here that can't make it into the high country to go to Mammoth Hotsprings (in the park) durring the rut.. they are all over town and you get to hear that awe inspiring sound in person

Willard said...

To All,

Stacey is right in that viewing a video is one thing, but the actual physical presence of a large animal bugling at close range is something else.

If they are close enough, one cannot help experience a spine tingling sense of apprehension and excitement. I think the bugle is one of the wildest sounds on earth. When an old bull levels an icy stare at you one feels the need to search for the nearest cover, although the experienced outdoorsman usually has some sort of escape planned, in the unlikely event that a problem does occur.

Still there are times that accidents happen and one is completley at the mercy of the animal, such as when one is walking a woodland road and comes around a turn and the animal is standing in the road watching him.

Luckily, most of these animals are interested in other elk and seldom cause a problem unless the human incites it by bugling or otherwise imitating another bull.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Hi Willard
I called back to thank you for your comment today.. I was pleased with what you said and I agree we would get on for sure.

I had a spam post today as well, when I deleted that I also deleted your comment, so I wanted you to know that I had read it first.

DeeMom said...

OH MY GOODNESS this is Magnificent

Travis said...

That must have been intense. Great video and great post today.

Anonymous said...

I think it must have been an intense moment.
Glad you shared it with us.

Larry D said...

Great video! A wonderful moment.