As he related the story, he arrived in a certain area to find several bulls in a meadow that had houses and camps on every side of it. The bulls were surrounded by a large number of persons who appeared to be assisting in the hunt, but no bull was shot at this point. It seems they were keeping the animals there so that if the bull they wanted did not arrive, the person they were guiding (who had a bull tag) could kill one of these animals. One of these bulls was an extremely impressive animal and another guide who was not part of this hunting party was allegedly complaining about this party keeping the bulls from leaving the meadow so that others could not shoot any of them.
In time the famous character bull came walking from the woods by a camp on the opposite side of a township road from where the bulls were in the meadow, crossed the road, and headed toward the general area where the other bulls were. As he left the township road, he entered an area, which was a mixture of small to mid-sized trees and open grasses. A portion of the hunting party arrived and the shooter was positioned some distance from the road in this meadow.. At this point the witness estimates the bull was about 50 yards from the shooter. It seems he missed the animal completely with the first shot and the bull gave little to no reaction to being shot at. The shooter was then placed a few feet from that position and he fired again--this time hitting the animal in a leg, and again there was little if any reaction to the gunfire and the bullet wound other than to move enough that the shooter had to be repositioned. The third shot was fatal and a famous Pennsylvania bull elk was no more.
On Thursday morning the witness and I traveled to the area and he related the account again to me again as we stood near to where this all occurred. Later in the morning another source confirmed that the bull was killed in that spot and the story as told was consistent with the accepted details of the story that they "the source" was aware of. There were a few small details that they had not heard from others participating in the event so they could not comment on those aspects.
This is known as a good area to see elk, so I left Benezette before dawn on Friday morning so as to be there by photographic light, but I encountered a bachelor group in a roadside meadow as day was breaking so I paused for awhile to film and photograph these animals. This turned out to be one of the best photo opportunities of the trip.
|Foggy Morning 6x7-Velvet Hanging In Strips: 500mmF4|
|Bulls In Early Morning Fog: 300mm F2.8|
|Bull Feeding On Apples: 300mm F2.8|
With that it was time to head back for Benezette and then for home. I did have some more bull encounters on the way, but that is a story for another time as is an analysis of this situation.
Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.