Saturday, June 21, 2008

Pennsylvania Elk: The Calves Are Born


Most Pennsylvania elk calves are born from mid-May through mid-June, so I spent Tuesday through Friday of this week on Winslow Hill and surrounding areas photographing and recording calves.

I met Ronald "Buckwheat" Saffer there, and we photographed the elk extensively and reviewed a semi-finished draft of a portion of the elk video. He and Billie Cromwell are assisting as script consultants, and contributing video footage and still photos to the production.


View from Winslow Hill toward St. Mary's-Canon 40D: 17-40mm at 29mm 1/90 f8 ISO 100

I focused on filming, as I do not have a great deal of video of the young animals. I did see several, but most were at long range and the encounters were usually very fleeting, as the animals were very spooky. This is normal to a certain extent as the cows are very protective of the young and will avoid humans more than at other times of year.

I also heard from reliable sources that the Game Commission was capturing calves and fitting them with ear tags, and breakaway collars. This was likely responsible for the extreme skittishness.


I did get a modest amount of video footage at long range with the big telephotos, but finally on Thursday evening, Buckwheat and I had a close encounter with a calf in a wooded area. It initially crouched down at our approach, but soon stood erect. I videotaped this segment and then tried some still shots with the 300mmF4. A small bull was in the woods to the left of the calf. He made a sudden movement and the calf bolted so I didn't get a shot of him facing me.

Young Calf Elk-Canon 40D: 300mmF4-1/180 f4 ISO 800

Two bulls were grazing and browsing by the roadside at the entrance to the Dent's Run Viewing Area on Friday morning and I couldn't resist taking this photograph as it looked like the bull was reading the sign.

Canon 40D: 100-400mm at 105mm 1/250 f5.6 ISO 400


I hope to post more photographs from this trip in addition to more fawn photographs.

I wish to thank everyone for their comments on the last fawn post and I will try to visit your blogs over the next few days!

For more Camera Critters photos visit Misty Dawn.

30 comments:

fishing guy said...

Willard: First the great deer fawn photos and now the Elk fawn, you are my hero at caturing animals for certain. I never saw an Elk fawn before.
Thanks for your comments on my sight.

Sue said...

What beautiful photos you have posted. Thank you, I have not seen elk fawn before either :)

My entry is here

Please do stop by if you have a moment. Have a great week ahead!

Texas Travelers said...

The calf may not be up to your great standards, but it looks pretty dang good to me, facing away or not.
Great job.

My critter is perched.
Come visit,
Troy

imac said...

Brill work again Willard.

pop and see my CC

reader Wil said...

I have never seen an elk. You are very lucky to live in a country with so much wildlife.

Carletta said...

These are wonderful photos! Always a treat to visit here.

Tammy said...

What a gorgeous baby!

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

I have been following and have not been disappointed... I am impressed and have been pointing your blog to a lot of my friends out here in the Rocky mountain area... fantastic work!

Shannon H. said...

Impressive photos! Thank you for sharing with us.

Kerri said...

Sounds like a wonderfully exciting time!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the shot of the elk "reading" the sign!

I had a fawn jump out in front of me on the trail that I was walking today...and I was nervous that the Mom wouldn't be that far away. What should I do in a situation like that?? I had to walk past the area that the fawn was in to get back to my car...and I was a thinking "mom" might not be happy about that. Any suggestions for me if this might happen again?

DeeMom said...

OH WOW the ELK how wonderful your pictures are

Willard said...

Kerri,

It won't hurt anything to continue on your way. I have not heard of a doe attacking a human in a case like that and your presence won't cause her to desert the fawn.

I have not had a problem with cow elk, but I have never been too close to one and its' calf either when the calf is young and they are very protective of them. I have heard from reliable sources that it is best to be cautious around them, but I wouldn't worry about the deer.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Marvelous photos! I, too, had never before seen an Elk fawn. Beautiful creature. Thanks!

LingoVise Says... said...

wow! such gorgeous captures! I've been trying to get a fawn photo this spring... but no luck thus far.

thanks so much for sharing yours :)

The Texican said...

Hi Willard, Thanks for dropping by Pappy's today and leaving a comment. I drove through Pennsylvania several years back on my way to Maine. Beautiful countryside. I want to go back and explore a little before too long.

Lilli & Nevada said...

What a neat set of photos, i love the baby so cute

ratmammy said...

Some really great photos!

Jim said...

Hi Willard,

Glad your back in the Elk range doing what you love to do. I'm impressed by the size of that Elk calf and I loved the whimsy of the "reading" bull.

I hope you had a great time and recorded lots of footage. I can't wait to view your final video.

Jim

babooshka said...

Beuatiful. ve the image and the read from start to finish.

Abraham Lincoln said...

I do visit and I do comment and I was here. I did look at your picture(s) and I did read what you wrote about them. I could say how great you are and how beautiful your work is but alas I would soon run out of things to say on the next blog I visited, so I just left this to prove I stopped and said a few words on Sunday. You have the second Canon 40D pictures I saw today. Nice stuff too.

My Rheumatoid Arthritis hurts so I am using the same message for all.

B. Roan said...

Elk that read. Good stuff! Elk are such magnificent animals.

Bradley Myers said...

Love the post as usual. I can't wait to retire and spend more time outdoors enjoying natures beauty like you.

i beati said...

all my years in Quakertown and I knew nothing of this opportunity missed Thanks for bringing it to me and others sandy

Steven and Aisha said...

Really cool shots you have! I love how you captured the bull reading the sign. Lol!

Misty Dawn said...

I can't tell you how much I would have loved to have seen this in person! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. The sign photo made me burst out laughing - that's a photo for a calendar or postcard for sure!!! LOVE this post.

P.S. I added you to the blogroll, I hope that's OK.

Shellmo said...

Very cute on the elk reading the sign! In Michigan - we have a fenced herd in Gaylord and then free ranging elk a little north - always enjoy watching them. Wonderful photos!

The Birdlady said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your compliment - I appreciate it, and am glad I followed it back here. THese are beautiful photos. The guy reading the sign is fun, but the baby nursing in the last post is perfection.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Excellent post Willard.. Great pictures as always and the one of the Elk by the sign is a classic.

Tom

Travis said...

Wonderful post here. I love the wildlife photos. The Elk by the sign is great.

Hey, I am back blogging now! Check out my latest post to see where I have been.

Daniel Spurgeon said...

Love the "Elk Viewing Area" photo with the Elk standing in front of it, as if looking at it. I guess it really is an Elk Viewing Area. :)