Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bull Featured in November Post Is Taken

After conversations with noted Pennsylvania Elk Photographers Ronald Saffer, and Terry Younkin, I have been able to determine that the Pennsylvania Bull Elk featured in the post of November 13, 2008 was taken during the recent Pennsylvania Elk Season.

This was another of the animals that was very trusting of humans. I first photographed it with a still camera in a meadow near the Gilbert Viewing Area on the evening of September 26th. The bull was resting in a reverting meadow and Odie Swartz, Terry Younkin, and I were able to move about freely in front of the animal as we tried to find a suitable opening through the brush and tall grasses through which to photograph the animal. We did not infringe on the animal's space, but rather remained a respectful distance from him. Finally he stood up and bugled in response to a challenge from another bull.

Answering The Challenge

Three days later Ron "Buckwheat" Saffer, Odie Swartz, Salty, and I had another close encounter with the same bull. This was about a mile from The Gilbert Viewing Area, and was in an area that was not so scenic. Salty and I were on a hilltop shooting down at the animal, while Buckwheat and Odie were at the foot of the hill shooting slightly up at him.

Not The Best Angle

At first it didn't occur to me that we were not utilizing the situation to best effect, but Salty pointed out that shooting from the bottom of the hill should give a much more pleasing view of the bull as we were shooting him against a background of short grass and piles of tree trunks that were created when the ground was cleared.

A Better Perspective

After changing position we were able to utilize a much better background of tall grass and early fall foliage, plus the bull appears more impressive when one is looking slightly up at him. Shortly after we changed position, the bull followed a cow into the nearby woods and the action was over.

Odie In Action

The Bull Leaves As Odie Photographs Him

As of yet, I have few details about the circumstances under which this animal was taken, but it seems it was killed well away from the viewing areas, (Spring Run area).

The controversies surrounding the management of these animals are examined in depth in "The Truth About Pennsylvania's Elk Herd", a 2hr-42minute documentary. The Film also deals extensively with the elk culture on Winslow Hill, and the life cycle of the elk. Click Here for more information on the film.


SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

A magnificent anaimal Willard. What a pity that he should come to a tragic end.

I hope that all is well with you and you have enjoyed your vacation.

fishing guy said...

Willard: That is a shame but it is wonderful that you have recorded its journey. You have found that life among the Elk herd is hard when you become attached to a tame bull. What fun can that be to shoot this animal?

Leedra said...

I agree when you changed where you were standing you got such a different photo. Great capture. Sorry to hear this Elk Bull won't be around for you to continue to photograph.

Old Wom Tigley said...

A very sad end to the year Willard... Your blog as tought me so much this year and for that and your friendship I thank you.

Rocky Mtn. Girl said...

Tsk... really is a shame indeed and a heavyhearted ending to the 2008 indeed.
I am sorry for this, it's amazing how attached you can become to photographing certain wildlife for a specific amount of time.

Much luck and success to you in the New Year!

Mountain Retreat-Canada

Kerri said...

How Sad!

Naturegirl said...

Willard it is heartwarming to read how YOU and fellow photographers are respectful of these beautiful animals and heart breaking to read that these
animals are so trusting of humans...the ones who shoot to kill!
I will never understand the so called 'sport' of ((((hunting!!))))

Bradley Myers said...

He was a beautiful animal, I am sorry to learn that he was taken during the hunting season. Now many more people will not have the chance to experience the thrill of watching and photographing this animal in the wild.

I hope you and your family have a safe and Happy New Year.

Stacey Huston said...

Willard, sorry to hear of the loss of another friend... How is the sale of your vidio going?? hope you sell many and get the message out there.. Have a wonderful New Year.. looking forward to many photos..

FC Ranger said...

I'm sure someone has a realy big story how they hunted so hard for this so called "wild animal" They should be ashamed.

The Birdlady said...

Willard these guys (and your photos) just take my breath away. And my heart breaks over the loss of any such magnificent creature.

Ken Conger Photography said...

Happy New Year to you and yours Willard. You certainly do provide a comprehensive report of this area. Very intriguing and have sparked my interest to travel these sometime. Blue Skies.

T and S said...

Willard : That's really unfortunate. Such a beautiful animal killed for the greed of mankind. I don't know what to say.

The more I see that incredible 3rd image, that more I feel sorry for how we are destroying the wildlife in this world.