|Mature Bull on Winslow Hill 2005: Killed in elk season that year|
19 Bull tags and 46 antlerless tags will be issued for a total of 65 licenses. The allocation does not include the one Conservation Elk Tag, which was auctioned by Safari Club International. We have one unconfirmed report that the tag sold for $37,000.00 this year. This effectively means 20 bull tags and a total of 66 tags. Contrast this with last years total of 56 tags which included tags for 18 bulls and 38 cows. As usual one must consider the Conservation Elk Tag which raised the total to 19 bull tags and a total of 57 licenses. This breaks down to 8 more antlerless tags and 1 more bull tag for this year.
It seems likely that there will be a substantial allocation for Hunt Zone 2, which surrounds the most popular tourist areas on Winslow Hill and it will come as no surprise if a significant amount of hunting pressure will be focused on the elk around Weedville that received much attention in the media during the past winter and early spring.
According to Carol Mulvihill writing in the April 7th edition of Endeavor News, PGC deer and elk section chief, Chris Rosenberry commented, at a recent PGC workshop, “We are aware of the situation in Jay Township, so we may need to make some adjustment in number of cow licenses allotted for that area in the elk hunt this year.” Mulvihill goes on to point out that this is what happens when complaints start coming in about the elk in a particular area.
Perhaps the best example of this was in 2003 when 100 elk licenses were issued with 20 of these being issued for bulls and 80 for antlerless elk. This followed an incident in Sinnemahoning where an elk was killed for crop damage, which resulted in a confrontation between PGC officers, the landowner, and a private property rights group. Of the 80 antlerless tags issued in 2003 10 were for Zone 4 and 10 for Zone 7. The 2003 Hunting and Trapping Digest specifically states that the Zone 4 and Zone 7 allocations were " to decrease elk densities and address conflicts in the Sinnemahoning area". This was in the period that Vern Ross, PGC Executive Director at the time, was excited about expanding elk hunting opportunities and supposedly said 70 licenses this year, 100 the next, and 150 the next. Whatever the case, the move toward ever upward license allocations came to a screeching halt as a result of repercussions from the 100 license allocation, which was on a herd of 552 animals before the calves were born in 2003 and was estimated to be 650 to 700 by hunting season that year. (DeBerti: Results of Elk Survey)
It will be interesting to see where this all goes, but I think it is safe to predict that we are on a upward spiral again with the steadily increasing elk population and ongoing complaints from areas such as Weedville and Spring Run.
Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.