Saturday, June 19, 2010

Camera Critters: A Living Legend

I spent most of last week in Pennsylvania's Elk Country.  Photography had to take a back seat at times during this trip as I attended a very informative workshop on elk, which was presented by The Pennsylvania Game Commission and also spent a lot of time discussing elk issues with concerned citizens.

I was fortunate enough to encounter Bull #36 on several occasions.  He is more commonly known as "Fred" by most elk enthusiasts.  Many do not feel a trip to elk country is completely successful unless they see this gentle giant.

Fred: Bull 36
 I filmed him for the first time in 1997 when he was a beautiful young bull and have recorded him each year since except for 2002 and 2003 when our path's did not cross.  He was fitted with a radio transmitter collar in 2004 and has been officially known as Bull 36 since that time.

Fred: A Living Legend

No one I talked to is certain exactly how old he is, but agree that he is at least 16 years old, and probably 17 or more.  I was surprised to see that his rack is this large as it did not appear to have the potential to grow this much when I saw him in May.  He also was suffers from arthritis, but now seems to be walking much better.  Still he has to be near the end of his lifespan and it was truly a pleasure to photograph a living legend.

In contrast, the young fawn pictured below is hopefully just beginning life, although there is a fairly high mortality rate from predators and natural causes.  Please note that this is not a young elk, which is known as a calf, but rather a whitetail deer fawn. I did not have any close encounters with calves during this trip, although I did see several, which were too far away for good still photography.

1 Day Old Whitetail Fawn

For more Camera Critters photographs from around the world, Click  Here!


Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Excellent pictures.The old male is worthy of respect,having lived that long.

Denise said...

Hi Willard, it is always such a pleasure to visit your blog, as I absolutely love your wildlife photography. Number 36 is magnificent and your fawn, what else can I say to describe such a beautiful sight? Truly awesome sounds so inadequate.

I took a photo of a momma raccoon investigating my bird feeders. If you have the time to stop by, my post is right here,

Carletta said...

What a majestic animal! Your photos make me stare in awe. I can't imagine how you felt being in the actual presence of this animal. Even with your experience I imagine it was quite a moment.
And this little curled up fawn - a new life at your feet. You're a lucky man Willard. :)

(Carletta's Captures)

Tink *~*~* said...

Bambi! :) Fawns are such beautiful creatures, almost like they don't quite belong here on earth. Thanks for the close-up :)

Tink *~*~*

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

Excellent photo of Fred.

Darryl and Ruth : )

Anonymous said...

AWESOME, Willard!!! He looks so good. It's amazing how much better he looks as opposed to last fall when I saw him.
You are correct, a trip is incomplete if I don't see Fred.
So glad you were able to see him, and thanks for sharing these photos.
The fawn is adorable as well!!

Feral Female said...

Wonderful pictures as always Willard!

Bird Girl said...

These elk pictures are just stunning, Willard! Fred looks like he decided to pose in front of that gorgeous green scenery just for you! What a pleasure it must be to find and photograph him each year.
Your fawn is so close and fragile and truly a perfect picture - wow!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful pictures of both "Fred" and the fawn!

Heather said...

Willard I am so anxious to hear what the PAGC said at this workshop... please e-mail me or write a post when you can and share your new knowledge! :)

Poetic Shutterbug said...

Fred is gorgeous and he looks like he's posing for you :) The fawn is so precious and what a beautiful closeup

richard l coy said...

Awesome photo willard. Fred at times has eluded us only to show up in different than usual places. Still hoping to make it up in June.

Indrani said...

You have such excellent captures. :)

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Willard: Beautiful capture of the fawn. The bulls photos are great but that fawn is so special.

Misty Dawn said...

Fred is breathtaking! Elk are such majestic creatures! How exciting that you go to photograph him again.

And, I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the fawn photo!