Dawn on Wednesday August 17th found me driving up Winslow Hill Road from Benezette. At 6:30 I spied two bulls feeding on vegetation by the side of the road, so I pulled my Ford Escape to the side of the road. I was concentrating on video this morning and had the Canon T3i with 70-200mm f2.8 mounted on the tripod and resting on soft padding in the rear of the vehicle, so I carefully exited the vehicle, got the camera set up, and began filming the animals. A major reason that I am using the DSLRS more and more to film wildlife is that one still has the option to take high resolution still photos without using another camera and when I had enough footage, I took a few still shots of the animals when they paused from feeding to look at me.
|Young Bull Pauses From Feeding In Early Morning|
|The Second Bull Pauses Before Vanishing Into Brush|
|Bulls Posing In Meadow|
|Bulls Sparring-Not To Be Confused With Fighting|
|A Large Bull With The Potential To Become Exceptional If Allowed To Live|
I am told by reliable sources that there are some outstanding bulls in the outlying areas and that some if not many of them should show up on Winslow Hill for the rut. Many bulls do travel extreme distances to visit the traditional breeding grounds on Winslow Hill, but in the past there were several large bulls that lived in the immediate area the entire year. At this point most of them have been shot in hunting season or died of old age (Fred & Bill Jr.) and have not been replaced by younger bulls as they are taken either before, or immediately when they become exceptional.
When visiting elk country be sure to look for Paul Staniszewski's floral note cards and photographs in the Elk Country Visitor Center gift shop. If you have not already purchased my two part documentary film, "The Truth About Pennsylvania's Elk Herd", please stop by Benezette Store and Restaurant and have them show you a portion of the film on the wide screen HDTV in the store and consider purchasing it. The film gives a brief overall history of Pennsylvania elk, but concentrates on the period from 1995 when I first began filming elk until 2008 when the film was completed. It gives a detailed view of the life cycle of the elk, with an emphasis on the rut. It also covers the most famous character bulls of the period such as Fred, Bad Boy, Mean Bill, and Screamer. The film closes by taking a look at elk management issues and the controversy surrounding the hunt. While some things did change for the better since then, the PGC largely negated the positive changes this year by boosting the bull allocations in Zone 2 and Zone 8 this year and again unwarranted hunting pressure is being directed at the bulls that live around the viewing areas.
Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill