Thursday, May 28, 2009

Another Encounter With A Mature Bull

Elk may spend an extended period of time in one area, or they may cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. After I photographed the bull featured in the post of May 16, I returned to the same spot that evening in hopes of finding him feeding in the same area, but no elk were sighted. I found him about a mile away, feeding in a camp lawn. This did not provide good photographic opportunities, but on the following morning after photographing Bull #36 in Benezette, I drove up Winslow Hill and found him feeding in a Pennsylvania Game Commission parking lot.

What's Up?

Elk are primarily grazing animals, but they do like to browse on suitable trees and shrubs.


As with most animals that are acclimated to humans, it was difficult to capture this animal in photogenic poses as he spent most of his time grazing. At one point two turkeys hunters emerged from the woods and had to walk directly past the bull to return to their vehicle. Needless to say, they did not spook him. In fact their appearance actually improved the situation as he looked at them as they walked from the woods.

What's Coming?

The older of the two gentlemen apologized for disturbing my photography, and I assured him they had not, but had in fact actually helped, as the animal was completely tame. They departed quickly as they had an important meeting and I returned to photographing the bull while he slowly fed across the grassy parking lot and vanished into the nearby woods.

On of the hunters was Rawland "Rawley Cogan" who was PGC Elk Biologist when the groundwork was laid for the first modern day elk hunt in 2001 and is currently employed by The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which is building a visitor's center on the lower portion of Winslow Hill . A ground breaking ceremony was held in September of 2008. When completed the complex is to feature a network of food plots with interconnecting trails and wildlife viewing blinds that may be used by the public under strict supervision, along with the visitor's center. The complex is to serve as a portal to Pennsylvania's Elk Range and is to be operated by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in co-operation with The Pennsylvania Department Of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Vanishing Into The Woods

I hope to post more photos from this trip in the near future that deal with reclamation work and habitat management practices as well as showing more elk.


fishing guy said...

Willard: Very neat shots of the elk in velvet. That looks like a massive rack is coming.

Anonymous said...

Great photos. I believe there were only a couple of bulls whose antlers were this large in mid May. Nice captures!

Vicki ~ FL said...

What great shots of such a beautiful animal.

Barbara said...

Just gorgous shots. You were able to capture some great moments. Have a great weekend. Smiles Barbara.

Michele said...

Splendid photos.. I thoroughly enjoyed these... I may not get around here as often as I like to but when I do, I sure love to get caught up on your beautiful photos and great stories!
Take care.