I saw several bulls on the hill throughout the period, most of which were distinctively 2nd or 3rd tier bulls. I did film a very respectable bull on Friday evening, but did not see him again. There were two or more 6x6 bulls that looked much alike, making it hard to differentiate between them. Saturday brought snow and excellent encounters with these animals. One of the bulls was to figure largely in the events of Monday morning.
|6x6 In Snow-Likely The Bull Harvested On The First Day|
Many of the elk in the saddle, including several bulls, moved into the no hunt zone after feeding on Sunday morning, but in late evening they started working back toward the saddle and for a time elk viewing and photography was excellent along Dewey Road, but it seemed likely that by dawn most of this herd would rejoin the animals that had remained in The Saddle.
|6x6 At Gilbert Viewing Area On Sunday Evening|
I am sure that most readers have already read Coy's accounting of the first day's happenings, but if not go to Country Captures to read the details.
At this point I will continue with the assumption that you have read his posting and will comment a bit on the situation.
The fears of a massacre proved to be unfounded for a number of reasons, one being that as best as I can tell only two outfitters were in the saddle and there were no independent tag holders. The outfitter that harvested the bull also had a client with a cow license. Both animals were killed in the same time frame, with the first shot fired at the bull being the signal for the client with the cow tag to fire. Each clients was escorted by an individual guide, who appeared to maintain tight control over the situation and ensured that all went smoothly.
The person that harvested the cow later in the morning was guided by a different outfitter who also appeared to operate in a very circumspect and discrete manner, and it must be emphasized that the two groups of outfitters respected each others' operations and did not interact in a competitive manner
At no time during the weekend did I approach anyone with an elk tag or a guide and bring up the subject of hunting the elk on Winslow Hill, or even discuss elk hunting in general, but two guides did initiate discussion on the subject with me. Each had a somewhat different outlook on the situation. (I must emphasize that everyone I encountered that guided or was associated with the guides/outfitters was courteous and respectful).
One guide was especially concerned about the prospects for a "massacre" on Winslow Hill and felt that the tame elk on Winslow Hill should not be hunted--at least on the hillside that is in plain view of the Gilbert viewing area and Winslow Hill Road. It is my understanding that this guide did have Zone 2 tag holders, but placed them in other areas of Zone 2 and not near the viewing areas.
A guide who did participate in Monday,s happenings in The Saddle had a somewhat different take on the situation. He stated up-front that he mostly agreed with what I have written and said about the situation in that area, but that if he didn't guide there someone else would, and since they had clients with Zone 2 tags and the saddle was in the hunt zone, then he would guide them there. He also made the point that even though we could disagree on details that we could still get along. I wholeheartedly agree with this, and his party and I encountered each other several times throughout elk season, and maintained a cordial relationship.
I must emphasize again that the problem is not in most cases with the hunters and guides, or the PGC employees, but with the policy that permits this to occur. There is no use to rehash the entire issue at this point. If you are a newcomer to the blog, read through the archives or view "The Truth About Pennsylvania's Elk Herd" and read and watch with an open mind. Do not jump to the knee-jerk reaction of a few that this is anti-hunting propaganda. It has been plainly stated quite often that we are discussing ideas that can result in a win-win situation for both the consumptive and non-consumptive user.
Elk Season Results for Monday through mid-day Thursday to be posted soon.
Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill