Friday, October 2, 2009

An Evening To Remember-The Peak Of Pennsylvania's Elk Rut

As the sun slowly dropped below the horizon, a herd of elk grazed in a remote meadow on Winslow Hill, in the heart of Pennsylvania's elk range. Piercing bugles rent the air as a mature herd bull kept guard over his harem. His only challengers were small bulls. A large bull that could have been a contender kept his distance and spent most of the evening lying peacefully at the edge of the meadow.

Mature Bull That Didn't Challenge The Herd Bull

The dominant bull repeatedly horned the earth at times, and strands of grass were draped on his antlers. What a wild sight as he ranged about the meadow chasing the cows and repelling the young challengers.

Note Grass Flying From Tips Of Lower Points


Dominant Herd Bull With Grass In Antlers: Enlarge For Better View

After the sun dropped below the horizon, the landscape was bathed in a golden after-glow, which provided a superb setting for a close-up photograph.

"Posing In The Afterglow"

As darkness fell the herd slowly traveled to a meadow near the parking lot where I had left my vehicle.

I brought up the rear, slowly following the herd at a safe distance and eventually they climbed to the edge of a steep meadow. The moon shone high in the heavens, and the air was filled with the tremendous thundering bugles of the large bulls and the high pitched squealing bugles of the raghorns. The herd bull brought the evening to a perfect close, by posing against the darkening sky.

Bull Bugles Under Moonlit Sky

(This is a composite image, with the moon being photographed in a second shot and combined with the photo of the bull so that it could be placed in an artistically pleasing manner, but is indicative of what one may see in reality).

Note: Due to high sales volume "The Truth About Pennsylvania's Elk Herd" DVDs are currently out of stock at Benezett Store, but should be available again by mid-week.

For more Camera Critters photos, Click Here!


17 comments:

SaraG said...

BEAUTIFUL photo's Willard.
Great post and photo's!!!

Cezar and Léia said...

Fabulous post, I think they are enjoying posing for your camera!
Very informative and interesting post!
Happy camera critters
purrs and love
Luna

JD and Max said...

These are amazing - that photo with the moon sent shivers down my spine, so atmospheric and beautiful. Wonderful, simply wonderful! :)

Squirrel said...

Wonderful photos. I scrolled on down throught the earlier ones and was facinated. Thanks ever so much.

Janet Creamer said...

An elk's bugle is such an amazing sound. I love it!

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Willard: You have some great shots but that moonlit bull is a prize winner anywhere.

sfriel said...

Willard
WOW!!!! What an enjoyable few days I spent in your company. You are truly an amazing man! Your images and footage are great! This is definitely one of the most exhilarating experiences that I have ever had. I learned a great deal from all of you about these magnificent creatures and their habitat. Thank you for passing all of the information along to our little group. There is nothing like having experienced people to show you the way. My sincere thanks to you Willard, Ron and Brad.

Thanks again!!!!!!!
Steve

eileeninmd said...

Awesome photos of the elk. The last moon lit shot could be a poster, it is so cool. I would like to hear the elk bugling. Thanks for sharing your elk critters.

Carolyn Ford said...

Wow! The moonlit one is really amazing! Great captures!

T and S said...

Awesome images of that massive bull and the final processed image is very creative

magiceye said...

brilliant post and the last pic is a masterpiece!

Calico Crazy said...

Great photos of the elk, and a fascinating story line with them. I almost feel like I was there.

Calico Contemplations

Elklady said...

Willard,
Awesome shots and great blog!!

Just wanted to tell you what I heard at Ben's this morning. "Freddy was hurt in the rut -- a couple of nights ago," seen by the nephew of a local resident. He was reportedly "having trouble walking," but the story was that "he was gored" ?? Don't know the truth of this, if any.

But today, I saw the 9 x 8 that has been dominating at Dewey Road with a group of 16 cows. People there watching him saw that he was definitely limping. I did not see Freddy. Heard there was much fighting on the hill over the weekend.

You need to get up here to check things out and take photos. Hope to see you on the hill.

Thought you'd appreciate the latest "news."

By the way, I love seeing your DVD playing at Ben's continuously.
--Carol

Kerri said...

Glad you are back Willard! These shots are marvelous...you show us the Elk like no one else!

Ken Conger Photography said...

Nice series as always. On my way home and stopping in Jasper and YNP this evening, the elk are in peak rut in this part of the world. Not many shots though due to the snow. Blue Skies.

Mar said...

Amazing photos! I wouldn't be able to choose a favorite, they are all such great shots. So glad you had a successful time in Benezette. Also, congratulations on your dvd set selling so well. It is something that everyone should own....it is very well done!
Looking forward to more photos and stories from your trip.

HANNIBAL said...

Your adventures always amaze me! What a thrill it has to be, to be out there among the herd witnessing their natural behavior! I can't image...