Monday, November 19, 2007

The Elk Hunt: Wednesday-The Check Station

Wednesday came in cold and windy with intermittent snow showers. This was my last morning to be in the elk range during the hunting season. The Gilbert Viewing area was devoid of elk.

"The Gilbert"
Winter Had Arrived!

I had mixed feelings about visiting the elk check station located at DCNR headquarters for the Moshannnon State Forest, which is located along the Quehanna Highway, but if one wishes to understand the hunt it seemed essential to stop by!

DCNR Headquarters

I took photos of the situation and was ready to leave when an officer informed me that it would be in my best interest to linger awhile as a possible world record bull was coming in soon. A word to the wise is sufficient and in time a large group of people arrived with what proved to be the largest bull taken during the season.

Guides: Brady Schrecongost, Jack Manack,and Tim Harvey

Tim Harvey, Dennis Henry, Brady Schrecongost

The hunter was Dennis Henry of Greensburg, Pa. The guides were Brady Schrecongost and Tim Harvey who were associated with Elk County Outfitters. The situation as I understand it is that guides are required to be insured. The insurance is quite expensive so several guiding services have associated with Elk County Outfitters for insurance purposes, although they actually conduct their own independent guiding service in the field. Jack Manack of Mt. Pleasant Pennsylvania is the owner of Elk County Outfitters.

At first I did not plan on posting any photographs of the elk that were killed, but I later decided to do so. Unpleasant as it will be to many, it is the reality of the situation! One thing was certain there was no regret among the members of the hunting party and most at the check station.

We will show more scenes from the check station in a future post, and eventually analyze the situation as I see it!

I would much prefer to post beautiful photographs of wildlife going about their daily activity, but this is an issue, which I have studied and reflected on since the first hunt in 2001. I do have deeply held convictions on the issue, which I would like to share when the proper foundation has been laid.


Kerri Farley said...

Very Very SAD!

Although I was never a hunter,I was raised in a family of hunters deer hunters-- and it ALWAYS saddens me to see this.

We ALWAYS ate the deer meat, that was something that was instilled in us.... if you kill it, you must eat it. Still.... a very sad situation. My father, who hunted when he was young, is now 85 and it saddens him too. Funny, how as you get older, life...all life...seems to be more precious.

Tom said...

Very wise words from Kerri,
I find it very hard to pass judgement on this subject to be honest. I have shot game birds and rabbits for food in the past, I don't live in an area where deer are normally found... but to say I would never have shot anything like this would be a lie. If I had grown up in that area, then the rabbit and game birds would have been replaced by deer and elk I'm sure.
Now I don't hunt at all, but still except and eat things that I'm given.. I am at a loss on this now. Lately my love of life and nature have pushed to the front and I would would prefer to see stuff running, jumping, walking, and flying.. than shot, gutted and ready for the table. I like how you are presenting all of this Willard and look forward to learning more from you and salty, and some of the folk that maybe do hunt. A very thought prevoking post..

Anonymous said...

Maybe age has something to do with it. Raised around farms and helping butcher animals is something I grew up with. I used to hunt and fish and killed animals that we ate for food. I never hunted or fished for "sport" as I don't believe in it. As I get older I have more respect for all life than I used to and I hope the idea of killing is forgotten.

DeeMom said...

When the kids were small we would take turns taking them OUT to hunt…Once many years later I had the option to shoot a big buck. The size matters not, but I aimed, I saw
I dinna shoot

I was Chided my many for not having the GUTS to shoot when in fact it was a call I chose to take, the area where I could have shot, was above the creek bank, and SOME ONE COULD have been there, I chose not to take that chance.
A friend had his jaw shot out by accident, his sons gun fired accidentally…I saw Neil recover from many surgeries,

Bottom line it was MY CALL as the hunter… WE did not really need the meat to the expanse of an injured life. Now I shoot with the camera, and have for many years, I like it this way…WORKS for ME.

SIDES I can AND HAVE outshoot the men in this family. My Daddy taught me well!

Coy Hill said...

I do believe that many of us begin feeling differently about hunting as the years go by and we become closer and closer to our own inevitable demise. Although I do continue to hunt & fish for the table I find I that my interest particularly in hunting dwindles as the years go by. If it were not for providing venison for the table I don’t expect I would ever again shoot a deer.

Of course photography provides an outdoorsman with the same hunting experience and the click of the shutter becomes more satisfying than the roar of the gun. So Willard to say either of us has given up hunting would be untrue, only the “weapon” has changed.

Willard said...

That is a fact. I turned from a passionate gun hunter into a passionate photographer, but I am still pursuing much the same type of animal and other species besides, but with increasing age I find that I try to find an easier way to photograph the animals instead of putting myself through a lot of physical punishment. I did however do a lot of walking to photography elk this year, but my whitetail photography has been more sedentary as you well know.

lv2scpbk said...

That looks like some happy campers.

Gretchen said...

I don't have a problem with hunting if it's to feed your family. I don't like hunters who only go out for the trophy. Hanging a head on your wall seems rather morbid to me.