Friday, November 30, 2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Well actually nothing is wrong with the pictures except that they are stills made by playing back the tape from a Canon XL-H1 high definition video camera and pressing the photo button at the appropriate places, which captures the stills to a memory card. I am amazed that it works this well. I did not take this series with a still camera, as the purpose is to include the video segment, which this is taken from, in the elk video, which I am making.

I am not speaking about picture quality although it is lacking compared to a DSLR. The problem with the series is the “Inconvenient Truth” which it reveals.

Next day he was a legal target!

Totally at ease with humans!
I leave him undisturbed

It is stated time and time again that Pennsylvania Elk are “as wild as any”, and that elk in the backcountry are “not your stereotypical Benezette tame elk”, yet here is a “wild” elk, deep in the heart of Elk Hunt Zone 2. This is the elk which I posted still pictures of at the beginning of the series on the hunt. In less than 24 hours it would be legal for a properly licensed hunter to kill him.

I would estimate the animal to be 90 to 150 feet from me. This shot was taken with the camera on a tripod with the lens set at moderate wide angle and then I walked into the picture and walked back out. I could have walked closer had I chosen to do so. The only precaution taken was that I gave the animal time to adjust to my presence from a distance and then made no sudden or threatening moves while in his presence.

Are all elk in the backcountry this tame? No, but then neither are most as wild as portrayed! Had he been taken in the following season, and perhaps he was, I am certain that the hunt would be portrayed as difficult and challenging.

Stay tuned for future installments as we pursue this further.


Anonymous said...

I like your photograph but am uneasy about the animal. He will be dead and butchered long before he learns that a lot of human beings buy a license to kill and they do.

It is an excellent photograph and shows the relationship mankind could have with animals in the wild. And no license is required.

Coy Hill said...


These elk are “wild” only if one defines wild as being unfenced and free to go where they please. To define them as “tame” would be a misnomer also as no one can control them as one does domestic livestock. If herd control is the objective, then I could support the scientific controlled hunt but as the hunt targets a disproportionate number of the large bulls it simply appears to be nothing more than a “Canned” Trophy hunt.

I’m somewhat concerned that the Pennsylvania Game Commissions true objective is to destroy the tourist value of this herd by targeting the large bulls. Not only do they kill them in the hunting season but they also collar seemingly all that they get their hands on. These large yellow collars certainly detract from the viewing value of the animal and from its photographic appeal.

The message (propaganda) repeated time and time again in the press proclaiming the “challenge” of hunting these “wild” beasts is simply a case of being “on message” and hitting the “talking points” to sell this “hunt” to the unknowing general public. Just as calling people Japs, Krauts, Viet Cong, Gooks, etc in our recent history was used to make killing people palatable; “Wild” and “Challenging” is used in reference to the elk to sell this “hunt”.

lv2scpbk said...

Unforunetly, he is familar with humans to not be frightened like that and as other stated will be killed by someone who doesn't care.

Tom said...

These pictures speak volumes and will go far to proving your point. It certainly makes a mockery of what the Game Board are saying. I hope one day you se the chages you think are needed Willard. In the mean time thank you for the work you are doing now, and thank you for sharing.

imac said...

I came from Womtigs blog. Great photos and great report and feelings.
What a good use of a blog for a great cause. Well done.

Tina Leigh said...

Uh-OH now see I love wild life but I LOVE to hunt too! Went to see the elk in North Carolina last year. Got to see them in the pre-rut & boy those bulls were sounding off like crazy! It was one of the neatest things I have ever heard. BUT THEY ALL HAD TRACKING DEVICES ON THEM TOO. Of course they were not put there to be shot at either. Collar shooting just aint hunting.....its mean. Just a few thoughts from a South Ga Red Neck girl.

Willard said...

My brother "Salty" has explained it well in his responses, but there is even more to the picture.

I used to be an avid hunter, but gave it up for various reason, which I will deal with in future posts.

Most of my best friends are hunters and I certainly respect your position. In fact I worked for Pennsylvania's Hunting Agency "The Pennsylvania Game Commission", most of my working life. I intend to explain in detail why I think these animals should not be hunted in some of the areas in which they are. (At some point they would likely have to be hunted to control the population or they would spread into more settled areas and create problems, etc.)

If one is going to hunt, they should do it as humanely as possible and follow a high ethical code. Unfortunately many do not and not all things that are "legal" are "humane" or "ethcial.

Isadora said...

Glad you only 'shoot' with a camera. Unless you need food, I can't see a reason to kill a living thing.