Friday, October 5, 2007

"Where's Them Elk At" The Narrative Continues

As our narrative continues we will partially answer the question posed by Wom Tigley, “Where Them Elk At?” We will also address my thoughts on hunting in time but that time is not yet. This will become apparent as our story unfolds in future posts.

Winslow Hill rises from the bottom lands along Bennett's Branch of The Sinnemahoning Creek, with the village of Benezette situated on its' lower slopes beside the stream. The Game Commission viewing areas are located on Winslow Hill. At one time the hill was a farming community, but then it was strip mined for coal and much of it was not re-claimed.
Terrain Devastated By Strip Mining
Recently there has been a massive reclamation effort, both on public and private lands.This has impacted the areas in which elk were traditionally seen. No longer do they necessarily appear in the same areas year after year. There are now many more food sources available and the animals have their choice of where to feed. This year was very short on rainfall in late summer and early autumn. Food plots were planted at the public viewing areas, but did not grow well because of the lack of moisture. A newly re-claimed area did have a stand of fall grain that was evidently planted early enough that it received sufficient moisture to grow. This was a magnet for elk. I had photographed elk there in the summer, so when I found none were using the viewing areas, I hiked to the remote reclamation site and was soon videotaping and photographing a herd dominated by a large bull

Herd In Newly Reclaimed Meadow
This area was much like the top photo before restoration work was done

Bull With Harem

Over the next eleven days I developed a pattern of checking different areas in the mornings, but going to this spot on most evenings. There were always cows there and a bull or so. Over the period several different bulls were sighted. A down side to shooting video is that I couldn’t carry my 500mmf4 and tripod for the still camera, and I was taking my best shots with the camcorder, so many of the stills taken were not of the best situations. Most were taken hand held with a 300mmf4 image stabilization lens when I decided to take a break from the filming.


Tom said...

I'm hooked Willard for sure, I await the next install ment..
It is good to see just how well land can make a come back with a little help. We have an old landfill site that is now meadow land and woodland, where in the late 1960s it was a rubbish tip for household waste, a place that only rats and gulls would visit, maybe the odd fox now and then. To see it now you just would never guess what had been there. The different wild life, and wild flowers is a joy to behold.

Love them Elk :)

Coy Hill said...

'Ol Bull #35 really has his cows moving! Good action shot!