Saturday, May 22, 2010

Camera Critters: Bull 36 Pennsylvania's Most Famous Elk

I spent most of last week in Pennsylvania's Elk Country.  The primary goals of the trip were to photograph bull elk in velvet and to meet  several other wildlife photographers and bloggers.

When I arrived on Monday afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised to find Bull#36, commonly known as "Fred or Freddy", feeding in a meadow along Winslow Hill Road.  He is the most famous bull in Pennsylvania and is now also quite possibly the oldest.

Bull#36 (Fred) May 2010

 I first filmed him in 1997 when he had a small but beautiful branch antlered rack.  He quickly grew into a magnificent animal and in his prime numbered among  the most impressive bulls that Pennsylvania has produced.

Fred: Autumn 2005
 Now he is in rapid decline.  His knees are knobby, he walks with an arthritic shuffle, and there appears to be problems with one eye.   I saw him again on the next day as he grazed near the road and what a privilege it was to photograph this aging monarch who was once the dominant bull on Winslow Hill.


An Aging Monarch: May 2010

It is likely that he  has survived to this point by remaining in the No Hunt Zone during elk season, but old age is taking its' toll and his long career will most likely be over soon.

For more Camera Critters photographs, Click Here!

14 comments:

Dina said...

Fred is lucky to have you as his photographer over the years and as his tribute-writer now.
I'm glad he could live such a long and good life in your area. Hope we will still see future photos of him.

madcobug said...

Poor thing is about to the end of his line. I hope he remains in a protected area until then. Helen

Nikki-ann said...

Wonderful photos, it isn't something we see around here. Such a great animal. I especially love your middle photo :)

Bird Girl said...

Oh my gosh! Fred is AWESOME! Thanks for sharing him with us!

eileeninmd said...

You have the coolest elk photos! Love them all!

ladyfi said...

Magnificent - just magnificent!

Marci said...

I still can't believe you saw him soon after arriving in town! We were there five days and didn't see him at all. :( I'm thankful for these photos!! I am amazed at how far he has traveled in the last three weeks. We love him and certainly hope for the best for our friend. So glad you were able to see him.

Feral Female said...

Wonderful photos of an impressive beast Willard!

richard l coy said...

Was good to see you once again Willard. Thanks for sharing the photo of Fred I sure did miss seeing him this trip. Hopefully the end of June or into July I mite be able to put a lens on him again.
Was good to see Buckwheat this trip also.

Misty Dawn said...

Wow! Magnificent doesn't even begin to describe that second photo! My breath was literally taken away. I'm in true awe!

T and S said...

Willard - That image of him in his prime is awesome and it is thanks to a few conservationists like you that some of these Elks are still around...Thomas

Tom said...

Nice to seen the Fred as lived a long and fruitful life Willard.. this is just how it should be.

Jeff Thomas said...

So good to get conformation that Fred made it through the winter.I was there a few hours the first week of May and heard he had made it but did not see him.He was an awesome bull in his prime.A buddy and me spent an entire day in the 2003 rut with him. A day I will NEVER forget.Will be there this weekend maybe I can see him then . Thanks Willard Jeff

Brad Myers said...

Fred looks like I feel, tired! I hope you had a good trip, of course just being in the mountains with nature a camera and friends all ads up to a good time.

Shane and I are planning trips to Winslow Hill and SNP for next month. Like you the purpose is velvet covered antlers but waiting until later June we are hoping for fawns and calves. Maybe we will get lucky and see you or Coy during one of the trips.