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.
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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.