Thursday, November 8, 2007

A New Experience

Elk County Sunrise
During my recent absence from blogging I was in Pennsylvania’s Elk Range to observe the 2007 elk hunt.

Pennsylvania’s Elk Season is a highly regulated hunt, which runs from November 5th through November 10th. 25 antlerless permits and 15 antlered were issued for a total of 40.

When I first visited the area in 1995 I was a dedicated hunter. There was no elk season at that time. I looked at the animals strictly as a watchable resource and of course an excellent subject to photograph or videotape. As a result of viewing the elk close up and several other factors, which I hope to discuss in future posts, I made a decision to quit hunting for any species sometime in 1998. Since that time I have been in the field most of my spare time with camera or camcorder in hand.

I became seriously interested in the elk herd and set out to capture a large collection of videotape and still images, with the emphasis being on video.

The first modern day elk season in 70 years was held in 2001, but I never witnessed a hunt until this year. This year I decided to be there in a non-participating capacity so as to be able to comment responsibly on conditions.

As a result, Saturday evening November 3rd found me deep in the backcountry scouting for elk and looking for hunters and guides scouting for elk.

I only found two elk. The nicest was a small 6x6, which I had encountered repeatedly during the past rut. I found him on Sunday morning at the same spot. I mostly took video of him, but am posting a still from each encounter. This animal was completely unconcerned about my presence and permitted me to walk openly in front of him at an estimated distance of 50 yards. His chances of survival in the coming week depended on two factors. One was blind luck. If he was not the wrong place at the wrong time, he would survive. His other hope was that a hunter would pass him up because they wanted a larger trophy. His chances of not being seen were slim.

6x6 Saturday Evening Canon 40-D 300mmF4

6x6 Sunday Morning: Canon 40-D 300mmF4


Unknown said...

Such a beautiful animal. I hope he does make it through hunting season.

I thought of you when I was shooting the elk last weekend. Wildlife Safari has a heard of about 20 Roosevelt aelk. They run free in the game park which is acres of natural habitat. The park is just a few miles from me so I visit them several times a month. Its always a thrill to find them close to the road.

Thanks for your encouraging words Willard. They help :)

Tom said...

I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing more from this trip, I value your views on the matter in hand. I know you and Salty will tell it as it is for sure.
This fine creature is to beautiful a thing and it saddens me it could be shot for a trophy. Shooting for meat I can get my head round.. shooting pests I can understand too... but trophy hunting is not for me at all.

Kerri Farley said...

He is so beautiful....I hope he makes it!

Anonymous said...

I hate to see wildlife destroyed and am so glad you have a nice photo.


DeeMom said...


Kekiinani said...

Hunting.. Hmmmmm my comments are limited. I would never be able to do so.. I understand that at times there is a need for hunting when the animals are too many for a certain area.. I am sure there is a technical term for this type of hunting.. but for the sport to hang beautiful antlers on a wall.. Wellll.. I think I shall keep those thoughts to myself.. Anyway, I had no clue what a 6 x 6 is but from the images I am guessing that is the number of little pointy, spiny things... anyway :) I will return to read on about the great elk hunt. I find your images awesome and the info of your post intriguing. :) :) Great shots!! What a beautiful sunrise the colors are amazing.. :) :)

Chad Oneil Myers said...

Beautiful Sunrise.

Gretchen said...

Gorgeous shots, as always.

I hunt for elk and other wildlife often, but only with my Nikon D200.

Living in the heart of the Allegheny National Forest, I understand hunting season all too well. For many here, hunting is what keeps their freezers and bellies full during the long winter. I have no problem with those who hunt to survive, but I wish the "city" hunters would just stay away. They shot at anything that moves without verifying what it is. They kill cows, horses, dogs and cats every year. :(