Monday, September 29, 2014

Pennsylvania Elk Rut-Activity Is Now Spotty

Elk rutting activity was very slow on Thursday--at least where I was--but it picked a bit on Friday. That morning was extremely foggy, as is usual for Pennsylvania elk country.  As the fog started to lift a bit, I pulled into a Game Commission parking lot and heard bugling coming from a nearby meadow. Upon checking the situation out, I found several cows and calves feeding along the tree line at the edge of the meadow while a bull watched them from just inside the woods and bugled periodically. At first it was so foggy that the bull was almost impossible to photograph, but then the fog lifted and suddenly a  larger 6x7 bull came running in from behind me and to my right and  locked antlers with the smaller bull.

6x7 Charges Smaller Bull
Bulls Fighting
They locked antlers several times and fought violently for  brief periods before the smaller bull ran off and left the 6x7 in control of the harem.

The Victor
That evening I decided to check out a favorite scenic overlook and found a Wildlife Conservation Officer there.  While we were talking he suddenly whispered, "look behind you" and I turned to see a beautiful bull walking directly toward us along the rim of the overlook.  I had the 70D around my neck with the 17-40mm attached so I brought it to eye level and took several photos. This was the Conservation Officers' first trip to elk country and he was very impressed with the experience.

Overlook Bull
I saw more elk including a few bulls before darkness fell, but the photo above was the highlight of the evening.  These events raised my hopes for the remainder of the weekend, but the trend did not continue, and activity was flat on Saturday and Sunday.

The highlight of Saturday was the Benezette Elk Camera Club Picnic.  I wish to thank the club for the opportunity to address them and play a few banjo tunes.  I also thank them for the courtesy and kindness the members extended to me.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


echoes said...

Been enjoying your blog posts and photos for quite a long time! But your music was a real treat at the picnic!

Melissa Billingham said...

I was in Benezette on Saturday/Sunday for my birthday, as we did last year. I was hopeful that the activity would be as wonderful as last year, or even better. I was a bit disappointed with the quiet near the Visitor Center. But, as I was with my family and celebrating, we had a wonderful time.
I really enjoy your stories and especially the pictures you share. I hope to one day be able to get some shots like these.

Willard said...

Thanks for the comments--I appreciate them very much.

Tom said...

Hi there Willard... sorry I missed leaving you a birthday message... but better late than never my friend.. all the best in this next year of life's journey, may you have health. Here's to you Willard.