Tuesday, December 29, 2009
It is no secret that there has been much discord among Pennsylvania RMEF members, with some regarding the RMEF's withdrawal from the Winslow Hill Visitor's Center as a positive thing, while other members have been very displeased.
We recently received information pertaining to the founding of another new organization, Keystone Elk Country Alliance, which is not affiliated with The RMEF.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Recently several members of SupportPaElk engaged Jack Manack, Jr. of Elk County Outfitters in an extended discussion of the issues surrounding our elk herd, and elk management.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Visit SupportPAElk For Discussion Of Pennsylvania Elk Issues.
A large herd of cows, calves, and young bulls were at the Gilbert Viewing Area and we spent much of the day with them.
By now most mature bulls are banded together in bachelor groups, but there was one fairly impressive 7x7 bull still with this herd.
Look for more elk photographs and analysis of conditions and issues in Pennsylvania's elk range in the near future.
Be sure to visit SupportPAElk for information about elk and elk management from the perspective of the non-consumptive user.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
In severe instances there may be a large amount of winter mortality in the whitetail deer herd, but most recent winters have been relatively mild.
Birds and animals make the most of situations which make survival easier and spend as much time as possible in sunlit areas that are sheltered from the wind.
For more Camera Critters Photos, click Here!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
EJM has responded by posting a comment to My Profile On You Tube:
After one brothers offensive rants and threats, the other brother now has a message to deliver. These gentlemen are the ultimate goodwill ambassadors for the hunting community.
Here is the comment in its :entirety:
"Mr Hill, You have brother number 2 here. We were just laughing at your blogs. I only have one comment for you sir, If the elk hunt is a joke to you and we are a joke as guides, and we shoot tame barnyard elk. Then how can you possibley sell a video that features tame barnyard elk. Are you a wildlife photographer or a livestock videographer. Anyone could do that. So, to you sir, if we are a joke, then you and your time scouting and your movie is a joke to us. By the way I have personaly witnessed a camp full of hunters fall asleep to your joke. Maybe you would like to see the perfect 200 yard first shot on that 9x8 bull and thats no joke. By the way sir how close did you get to that elk? When you filmed him, may be he was stunned by your camera flash. I think he was acclimated two people trying to feed him, cameramen, and barnyard videographers."
Happy Hunting EJM
We thank EJM for his response. It is most enlightening.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Verbatim quote by someone posting as Jpg207 on You-Tube. According to the profile This person is Jarrad McCarthy of Elk County Outfitters. This was in response to a comment by me concerning the shooting of the 9x8 bull on the first day of season.
Friday, December 11, 2009
For more discussion of the issues surrounding Pennsylvania's Elk Herd Visit, Support PA Elk
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I was editing video last evening and left to do something else for a period of time, so I put the computer in sleep mode. I could recover from sleep mode with my Windows XP editing computer, but this was a new Dell XPS 9000 with the Windows 7 operating system. Two of the external drives were powered up. When I returned the computer would not awaken from sleep mode, so I had to do a hard shut-down by depressing and holding the power switch in.
When the computer rebooted, I tried to open a project, but got a message that the media could not be found. Long story short-both drives were hopelessly corrupted and could not be accessed (each were 2 terabyte drives about with one being 50% full and the other about 75% so there was a tremendous data loss) I tried drive rescue software to no avail. The drives had to be reformatted and all of the material must be recaptured. This is a daunting task as it involves somewhere around 100 tapes to get back to a minimal acceptable level of operation, and one must be there to start and stop the process of capturing each tape.
I love to edit video, but it is hard work and I sometimes wonder if it is worth the hassle. I am still shooting tape and each one must be captured to a hard drive. This is real time capture. It takes one hour to capture a one hour tape, with other time needed to set up the capture process. I had all of the wildlife footage I have taken since the beginning of 2007 on three external hard drives, which are always attached to the computer. Luckily one of the drives was not attached and a portion of another was backed up to another drive, but still it is a mind boggling amount of work to face.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Acclimated 9x8 Bull: Killed In 2008 Season A Short Distance From This Spot
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I was watching for roadhunters, when I heard a tremendous muzzle blast nearby. An investigation revealed that the shot was on the neighboring property. I saw hunters driving from the area and found blood by the side of the road where a deer was loaded. I later found where the entrails were removed. The testicles were lying there also proving that it was a buck. This animal was seen both in the morning and afternoon and was within 100 yards of the area of the shot when last seen. He has not been seen since, so it is 99.9% certain that he was the deer that was taken.
While this was likely legal hunting activity, much illegal activity does take place. Since this area has a large deer population and the ground is posted, it is a favorite spot for roadhunting. Road hunting is illegal under the Pennsylvania Game and Wildlife Code. Hunters must alight from the vehicle and get more than 25 yards from the roadway before firing at game. It is also a violation if they use the vehicle to locate the game in the first place.
It was raining on Wednesday afternoon, when a vehicle arrived in the area and stopped to observe a herd of deer in the nearby field.
This is not a violation if the rifle is not loaded and they do not fire at the deer , but it does create a very bad public image. It is possible they were only looking to see if any of the animals were bucks, but binoculars are the correct tool to use in that case. Many will not risk arrest to shoot a doe, but will take the chance to get a nice buck. Did they intend to shoot? I do not know, but
I was not taking any chances so I commanded them not to shoot and to get the rifle back in the window. They quickly left the area.
During my past law enforcement career I charged well over twenty individuals for committing this violation in this same small area.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Many Pennsylvanians anxiously await the arrival of Monday morning, which is the first day of rifle deer season. In many areas, deer of any sex will be legal game as long as one has the proper licenses and follows the laws and and regulations. In other areas, the first week of season will be for antlered deer only. In all cases there are some type of antler restrictions. One should read the Hunting Digest carefully before going afield.
Sadly, many will not obey the rules and regulations, or hunt by ethical standards. Many of these persons will encounter Pennsylvania Game Commission Officers and their misconduct will result in charges being filed against them.
The rut will effectively end on Monday as many of the bucks will soon be taken, and those that remain will become wary and difficult to see. I will not be hunting as I have not participated in the sport since 1997 or 1998, but I hope to be out there with my cameras documenting the wildlife and any crimes against wildlife that occur in my presence.
For more Camera Critters Photos from around the world, click Here!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the premier destinations for the serious wildlife photographer. This is a large valley with an 11 mile long loop road that runs through an area of mountainous woodlands , and meadows that are often alive with whitetail deer.
I visited the park each November during the years that my daughter attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Today's photos were taken during the 2004 trip. At that point I was shooting a Canon 10D Dslr and my most powerful lens was the 100-400mm Canon L.
Whitetail photography in the park can be extremely frustrating at as the animals are often found in short mowed grass, which does not provide a truly natural or wild looking background.
Other areas have been planted in native, grasses that provide perfect backdrops if the grass is not too tall, but in many areas it is so tall that it obscures the animals. These stands of grass are maintained by prescribed burning in the spring.
Other species of wildlife are also frequently seen. I saw a lot of bears some years, but this was not one of them. I did get my first eastern coyote photographs that fall, when I found a young one hunting for rodents in the meadow near the hay barn.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Coy Hill of "Country Captures" has posted a tremendous article about the need for a larger No Kill Zone to protect the mature bulls that draw thousands of tourists to Pennsylvania's Elk Range each year. Thanks to measures taken by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in recent years, many of the most flagrant abuses that ocurred in the early years of the hunt have been addressed, but there is still more work to be done.
It seems that many view the magnificent mature bulls as just another trophy to hang on the wall, rather than considering the fact that one person can kill the animal but once, while thousands can view it time and time again. Hunting is still permitted too close to the viewing areas. We need to protect more of the elk that visit the viewing areas, not just the viewing areas and a small buffer zone around them.
The post may be found on the new team blog dedicated to promoting the responsible viewing and photography of Pennsylvania's elk herd, Support PA Elk.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
60 licenses were issued for the 2009 season. 21 bull tags and 39 cow tags were issued. 20 bulls and 24 antlerless elk were harvested for a total of 44 animals. These figures include the special conservation bull tag that was auctioned off by the National Wild Turkey Federation. (that individual did take a bull during mid-October).
In an article in the November 14, 2009 edition of Endeavor News, "Elk Hunter Success Rate Down, Huge Bull Taken", author Carol Mulvihill quotes elk biologist aide Mark Gritzer as saying, "The abundant protein-rich acorns this year lured elk into forested areas,”
Writing in PGC News Release #116-09 , PGC Executive Director, Carl Roe said, "This year's overall success rate was 73 percent, which is down slightly from the past year, which I believe that this can be attributed to the improved food conditions this year throughout the elk range."
Source: News Release #116-09
Here is the breakdown:
Bull success rate:-------95%
Antlerless success rate-61%
Overall success rate: ---73%
It may not be immediately obvious, but a 95% success rate on bulls is only one animal away from a 100% success rate. The much lower antlerless success rate brings the overall average down to 73%, but it raises an important consideration.
If the relatively low antlerless success rate can be explained by a more abundant mast crop causing the animals to spend more time in wooded areas instead of the open and edge areas where they are ordinarily found and resulted in them being spread over a wider area, then we must ask why the bull kill was not impacted nearly as much by these same conditions and instead was just one animal shy of 100%.
There are likely several contributing factors:
- Many, if not most, will hire a guide when the stakes involve a chance to kill a large bull, but some are hesitant to spend the money for a guide when they are looking for a "cow".
- Unlike deer, elk are large animals, and some may not want to expend the effort required to retrieve them under difficult circumstances, and so would not venture far from a road while hunting.
- Many will not expend as much effort in trying to kill a cow versus a bull as it may not be as exciting or prestigious to them.
- Elk may not be present in the zone that a hunter is assigned to.
A mature bull elk is one of our state's natural treasures. It takes six or seven years for a bull with the right genetic makeup to reach the stage where it is truly impressive and all too often they are killed at that stage. Remember, One person can kill him, but once, while thousands may enjoy viewing him time and time again.
We need a larger No Kill Zone, possibly surrounded by a population control only zone, with no bull tags issued for that area. This should not be viewed as a threat by the hunting industry, but should be a win-win situation for both factions, as the majority of the elk range would still be open to elk hunting, but more if not most of the bulls that frequent the tourist areas during the rut would be protected.
Some will counter that this is not the case as bulls may travel long distances to visit the breeding grounds on Winslow Hill and then return after the rut is over, but that is a subject for another day along with a more definitive look at what an expanded No Kill Zone should entail.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
After owning it for a few weeks I must say I find it much more difficult to use for filming wildlife than the Canon XL-H1. Most noticeable is that the 7D is not as effective at long range as it has a 1.6X crop factor while the XL-H1 has a 7.2X. For example the 500mmF4 has an effective focal length of 3,600mm in 35mm terms, while it is only 800mm on the 7D.
I have been working on a short film to demonstrate the video capabilities of this camera, but have not completed it yet and some want to see some samples so I am posting three clips today.
I admit that I am a poor record keeper. With still photos I depend on reading the meta-data to tell what settings I used, but as best as I can tell this function does not work with video clips. If anyone knows a way other than writing it down, please let me know.
The first clip was taken at moderate range with two different lenses. The first portion is with the 500mm F4, and the second with the 300mm F4. I cannot recall if the ISO was 100 or 200, but I am certain it was not over 200. Shutter speed was 1/60 sec. with the appropriate f stop.
The Next two clips are with the 500mm F4 at fairly close range. I prefer to use the camera on a video tripod when shooting video, but a video tripod is less than ideal for still shooting so I used the Gitzo with Wimberley head in all of the clips today. The Wimberley head actually works well if one can avoid panning and even then does fairly well with the shorter telephotos, but there is too much jerking and wiggle if one must follow motion with the 500mm.
If I recall correctly I set the ISO at 400 for this clip as it was taken late in the evening, but there was still a decent amount of light.
I am certain that the last clip was taken at ISO 1600 and 1/60 F4. It was growing very late in the evening by this time and the light had a warm afterglow.
I also have an issue with editing. I am using an older machine that handles HDV quite well with Vegas 9.0b editing software, but it crashes once I add a few of the native MOV files to the timeline. I also have Cineform Neo Scene installed on the machine and it is much more usable than the raw files, but there is still an occasional crash. The clips shown today are Cineform files, edited to remove camera movement and then rendered to Sony AVC with the Internet 16:9 HD 30P template.
In spite of some of the issues, I think the integration of HD video in DSLRs is a revolutionary change that will alter our expectations from still and video cameras alike.
Monday, November 16, 2009
We did see a large eight-point on Monday evening. There was a large herd of does in Big Meadows along with some smaller bucks. Suddenly the large eight-point pictured below came running across the drive from the nearby woodland and into the meadow. This is the same animal that was photographed by my brother Coy of Country Captures in 2007. One of the photos from that session was featured for the month of December in the Pennsylvania Game Commission 2008 Calendar. The animal was a ten-point in 2007, but while only an eight-point now, he has retained his antler mass.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Yesterday The Pennsylvania Game Commission released information on the recent elk hunt. Please visit the PGC website for more information about elk and other wildlife in Pennsylvania.
Release #116-0 Source: The Pennsylvania Game Commission
ELK HUNTERS HARVEST 44 ELK IN 2009
HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today announced that 44 of the 60 licensed elk hunters were successful during the 2009 elk season. Of that total, 20 were antlered elk and 24 were antlerless elk.
“Elk are one of North America’s premier big game animals,” Roe said. “Pennsylvania is privileged to offer this unique hunting opportunity, a product of successful wildlife management that helps to finance wildlife conservation and supports Pennsylvania’s rich hunting heritage. It’s an unparalleled experience for hunters, particularly those who can’t afford to go on an expensive one- or two-week guided elk hunt out West.
“This year’s overall success rate was 73 percent, which is down slightly from the past year, which I believe that this can be attributed to the improved food conditions this year throughout the elk range, thanks in large part to the decline in gypsy moth defoliation.”
Along with extracting samples needed for disease testing, the agency also collected samples necessary to examine food preferences and habitat use by elk. Also, hunters collected liver samples that will be evaluated for mineral contents.
The largest antlered elk was taken by Reed Bamburger, of Graysville, Greene County. He took a 652-pound (dressed weight), 8x9 on Nov. 2, in Covington Township, Clearfield County.
Those hunters rounding out the top five heaviest antlered elk harvested, were: Lisa Banasick, of Connellsville, Fayette County, took a 643-pound, 9x11 on Nov. 5, in Gibson Township, Cameron County; Ronald Werkheiser Jr., of Hellertown, Northampton County, took a 617-pound, 7x7 on Nov. 4, in Karthaus Township, Clearfield County; Kenneth E. Hunter, of Muncy, Lycoming County, took a 604-pound, 8x8 on Nov. 3, in Jay Township, Elk County; and Alvin Hubler, of Munson, Clearfield County, took a 589-pound, 6x7 on Nov. 3, in Benezette Township, Elk County.
The heaviest antlerless elk was taken by Larry Davis, of Fairborn, Ohio, who harvested a 474-pound (dressed weight) antlerless elk on Nov. 3, in Benezette Township, Elk County.
Those hunters rounding out the top five heaviest antlerless elk harvested were: Gary Weikert, of Arendtsville, Adams County, who harvested a 444-pound antlerless elk on Nov. 4, in Covington Township, Clearfield County; Randolph Maus, of Halifax, Dauphin County, who harvested a 413-pound antlerless elk on Nov. 5, in Gibson Township, Cameron County; Ronald VanDyke, of Harrisville, Butler County, who harvested a 403-pound antlerless elk on Nov. 2, in Gibson Township, Cameron County; Scott Hite, of Port Republic, Maryland, who harvested a 398-pound antlerless elk on Nov. 5, in Gibson Township, Cameron County; and Adam Palyo, of Jefferson Hills, Allegheny County, who also harvested a 398-pound antlerless elk on Nov. 6 in Grove Township, Cameron County.
Roe also noted that Jim Nyce, of Green Lane, Montgomery County, who was the successful bidder for the first-ever Elk Conservation Tag, harvested an antlered elk, as well. Nyce harvested a 6x6 on Oct. 14, in Benezette Township, Elk County. Nyce purchased the Conservation Elk Tag during the National Wild Turkey Federation’s national conference in early 2009, and was able to hunt from Sept. 1-Nov. 7.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I recently received a copy of a letter from Jim Borden of Borden Custom Rifles. Mr Borden wrote this letter to a Mr. Jacobs of WNEP PA Outdoor Life concerning a program which they broadcast last year.
Here is the letter published by permission of Mr. Borden:
I am writing to express my concerns with any publication of the Pa Elk Hunt. I grew up in Pennsylvania as an outdoors man and hunter and hunted for 45 years. All of the game I hunted was done fair chase and for animals that were wary of humans. The elk hunt in Pennsylvania is a disgrace to hunting. The PA Elk are not wary of humans and can be easily approached at all times of the year. The video broadcast on WNEP PA Outdoor Life last year would leave hunters and non-hunters alike concerned about calling the Pa Elk hunt a "hunt". . It was easy to see the elk were not afraid and it was like shooting cattle on a farm. This type of publicity does hunters no favors and in fact harms the impression that the general public has of hunters. The Pa Elk Season is NOT fair chase hunting. Bull Elk #47 has been reported as being killed. He walked up to "hunters" and "guides". Furthermore, on Gray Hill on the first day it has been reported that a group of 20 hunters approached 10 bulls together. This is very sad and I hope that you no longer use Pa Outdoor Life to advertise, promote or report on the hunt as a hunt.
My wife and I enjoy traveling to the Benezett area to view and photograph the elk. In all of my visits there over the past two years it has been apparent that the elk do not have normal wild animal fear of humans. Many of my hunting friends and clients share the same views.
Lets keep hunting as hunting and shooting as shooting.
My thoughts on the situation:
There are more aspects of this situation than can be discussed in one blog post or several. In fact this subject has been the basic reason for the existence of this blog and its primary focus, although of course I like to pursue the discussion of other species and subjects. I will concede that it is possible that a fair chase hunt may be possible in the areas well away from Winslow Hill, Gray Hill, etc. I do not know! I ordinarily do not go afield in these areas and at present do not have experience there, but I do have more experience than most with the elk in the areas we are primarily concerned with.
We will pursue this subject in more depth in the very near future, but for today's photographs I will post a series of photos of the 9x8 that was killed in the Devils Elbow area. This animal was shot in elk hunt zone 2 on the first day. It was only a short distance from the Dents Run Viewing Area.
In this case the animal was photographed during the peak of the rut and persons were able to walk about freely in front of him. All of the persons involved were seasoned outdoorsmen and did not intrude on the animals personal space so as to cause him to alter his behavior.
* Did he turn into an elusive, cunning animal in a few short weeks?
It appears from reports and photographs that we have received that this animal spent a significant portion of the last few days of it's life lying in the lawn of a nearby Bed And Breakfast. One of the persons staying there photographed the animal extensively on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before elk season and noticed that two people spent a lot of time along the border of the property and appeared to be watching the elk closely. The animal did not appear on Monday and the person wondered why it did not. As I understand it, the bull was killed on State Game Lands quite close to the property on Monday morning, the first day of elk season. It seems likely that the persons seen observing the elk were the hunter and his guide.
We try to be fair and will permit persons of opposing viewpoints to comment or they may submit longer articles to be posted. The only requirement are that they must state their actual name, the tone of the article/comment must not be offensive, (no name calling), and must be an intelligent discussion of the issues.
In this vein, we especially invite a response from someone who can present a good ,valid reason that we should be shooting the trophy bulls that are acclimated to humans in the Winslow Hill, Gray Hill areas.
I am also interested in hearing a response from someone who was involved in the incident on Gray Hill on the first day, that can explain this incident in a manner that addresses the ethical and legal concerns that the situation seems to raise.
*Note: that I am not promoting or endorsing approaching these animals closely as the unexpected can always happen.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Fellow outdoor blogger Brad Myers ,of Bradley Myers Photo Blog, and I found a solitary bull with a small group of cows in a portion of meadow that was reclaimed two years or more ago, and had more photogenic appeal than much of the surrounding area. It began raining lightly as we worked into position and settled in for an excellent photo session with these animals.
As best as Ronald "Buckwheat" Saffer and I have been able to determine, this animal is bull #40. I saw this animal a few years ago when he still had a collar, but the numbers were torn off. At that time Buckwheat identified him as #40, as he had seen him when the numbers were visible and thought it was the same bull. Since that time he lost the collar entirely. In short there is slight room for error in stating that this is in fact bull #40, but the preponderance of the evidence points to it being him. If anyone knows differently please let me know.
At any rate, noted outdoor writer and elk enthusiast Carol Mulvihill (the elklady) was kind enough to provide us with a summary of the results of the elk hunt as she knew them as of November 9th and included in the report is the fact that #40 was taken this year.
She spent the first three days of season at the check station and also interviewed elk biologist, Jon DiBerti on Thursday of that week. She received the final summary of the hunt from Mr. DiBerti early this week and will be reporting on this in this Saturday's edition of The Endeavor News, a newspaper which covers events in Potter and Cameron Counties and surrounding areas. Ms. Mulvihill is a regular columnist for the paper. After two weeks, stories are available to the general public to be read in their entirety online(only the beginning portion is initially available). One may purchase a subscription to the online edition of the paper and read the article immediately upon publication.
Here is the information that Ms. Mulvihill provided us:
There were 59 licenses for the regular season 6-day Nov. PA elk hunt 2009, 20 bull tags and 39 cow tags. A total of 43 elk were harvested in the regular Nov. season this year: 19 antlered and 24 antlerless.
This compares with 45 licenses for last year's (2008) hunt, when 40 tags were filled during the regular season, 17 bulls and 23 antlerless elk were taken, and 5 antlerless tags remained unfilled.
So even though there were more licenses issued for this year's elk hunt, the harvest was very similar to last year.
These are the collared animals taken:
Collared bulls harvested: 9B, 5C,13, 47, 23, 7B, and 40 (remember this big bull #40, Willard? He lost his collar in the rut a couple years ago, still had ear tags. He came from Quehanna to Winslow Hill ( a distance of 18 air miles) each year for the rut, and then returned home.
Bull 7B was the 10 x 11 bull from Sinnemahoning State Park. It was seen at Hicks Run Cemetery and near Grant, during and after the rut. This bull was killed by woman elk hunter Lisa Banesick late on Wed 11/05/09., guided by Cody Ball, Janet Colwell's daughter, of Hicks Run Outfitters. It was brought in to the check station on Thursday -- it's the one that Jeff Thomas told you about.
Collared cows harvested: 80, 28, 3C, 48, and 74.
According to DeBerti, the highest green-scored bull this year was taken on day-one (Monday) in Frenchville by Reed Bamberger, guided by Jack Manack. The antler net green score of his bull was 422 in the non-typical category. Lisa Banasick's bull, taken Thursday, was not green-scored at the check station.
PGC regional staff, Rick Macklem and Tony Ross did the green scoring at the check station on Mon-Wed, then had to return to the regional office Wed. afternoon. The scoring drew a big crowd and was fascinating to watch.
Anyway, the net green score of 422 for Bamberger's bull is significant. Remember John Shirk's bull from 2006 hunt, that is currently #1 Non-Typical record elk in Pennsylvania. Ultimately, after being challenged and rescored, it ranked 13th in the World, instead of 7th in the World.
After rescoring, the final net Boone and Crockett net score of Shirk's bull was 425 and 2/8. Since then, some of the world records have been broken, but Shirk's bull is still #1 Non-Typical bull elk in PA. I know this because I was at the PGC awards ceremony when he was honored in Sept. 2008.
Bamberger's bull will receive a final Boone & Crockett score after a 60-day drying period. Usually several inches fall of the score due to shrinkage that occurs.
Above Information courtesy of Carol Mulvihill
Coming Soon: Some thoughts on the elk hunt as expressed in a letter by a prominent member of the firearms and hunting community.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
It has been confirmed that the 9x8 that frequented the Gilbert Viewing Area this fall was killed on the first morning of the Pennsylvania Elk Season. According to outdoor writer Carol Mulvihill writing in The Endeavor News, the animals was killed by Gary Kolenski of Schwenksville, who was guided by Eric McCarthy of Elk County Outfitters.
Jeff Thomas of Glen Rock, also confirms the killing of the 9x8, and reports that a large 10x12 was taken near Grant. He saw this animal on the scales at the check station on Thursday November 5th.
On a positive note, we wish to extend hearty congratulations to Ronald J. "Buckwheat" Saffer for having one of his photos selected for the front Cover of the November-December Issue of "Bugle Magazine", the official publication of The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The issue features a stunning close-up photo of "The Spring Run Bull", an impressive animal that was later taken in the 2008 hunt.
Mr. Saffer, Pennsylvania's leading elk photographer, is known for his dedication to both the preservation of the Pennsylvania Elk herd and the pursuit of excellence in the field of wildlife photography. Mr Saffer is widely published. One of his photos, a superb portrait of the famous character bull, Fred Jr. is featured on the jacket of the 2 Hr.-42min. documentary film, "The Truth About Pennsylvania's Elk Herd".
Also, I was fortunate to have two photos published in the same issue. "They appeared as part of an article "Elvis Has Left The Building" by Scott McMillion, which deals with the life and death of a Yellowstone National Park Character Bull, Bull #6, which was famous for chasing tourists and damaging vehicles around park headquarters in Mammoth Hot Springs. I photographed him there during late August of 2008.
He died in a freak accident in Gardiner, Montana in February, 2009. In many ways he was like our character bull Fred, in that he spent the winter living in the town. There the similarity ended as Bull #6 became a "holy terror" during the rut, but Fred Jr. has remained a " gentle giant" insofar as his relation with humans has been concerned, although during his prime he was certainly not found wanting in his response to challenges from other bulls.
Dawn found a beautiful 8 point and a doe standing on the skyline in Big Meadows. A strong, cold wind was blowing and it was brutal out there, but what is a whitetail addict to do but face the elements and get into action.
It is best to not focus exclusively on the meadow, as many times one may find excellent opportunities while traveling on the Skyline Drive. In this case we spotted one of the largest bucks I have yet photographed as he was working the woods by the side of the drive in search of does.
Later in the morning, we saw a buck breed a doe far away in the meadow with no chance to photograph the event. Later we found the deer had moved closer to the roadway and we parked the vehicle and spent some quality photographic time with them.
For more Camera Critters Photos, Click Here!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I met a couple during my first year or so in Elk County. They are dedicated outdoors people who love watching and photographing the elk. They were kind enough to e-mail me a report about their experiences of the first day of the 2009 elk season as they got to see it first hand.
They started the day by checking the parking lot at the end of Dewey Road and found 16 vehicles there. From this point I will go to their exact words: "Went to Gray Hill on top where the camps start on the left side of the road (about half way to apple orchard) there were 10 Bulls together around the camps but about 20 hunters and guides (so it seemed) NOT GOOD. No 47 (brown collar) which was the biggest bull in group, was there and we took last live pictures of him. We had stopped but was getting in their way. Anyway we left so they could carry out game plan, put hunter in front, then bulls walk right to them. No 47 went down and next biggest one. Not sure what it was. "
As I understand the hunting digest, this is Elk Hunt Zone 8 and should be all of the bulls allocated for Zone 8. I have no current photographs of bull 47, but he was featured in a post by Steve Friel on October 7, 2009. To see this photo visit Photos by Steve.
They also had news as to the dominant 9x8 bull that was seen almost daily at The Gilbert Viewing Area this fall. They had seen hunters walking a road toward game lands as they (my correspondents) were heading out in the morning. When they returned to the area after being on Gray Hill, they saw the 9x8 being hauled out on the back of a truck. This is in Elk Hunt Zone 2.
They then went to the check station from 12:30 until 3:00. There were 6 cows and 6 bulls checked by that time.
It is important to note that this is the situation as I understand it and as it was reported to me. It will be interesting to hear or read the accounts of these hunts from the perspective of those that participated in them.
Something I do know is that during the period from September 20, through October 2,2009, the 9x8, had no fear of humans. Absolutely none!