Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It 's A Disease

I noticed recently that I am getting several hits from people searching google images. I must admit that I was not aware of the Google Image search feature before . I typed in Pennsylvania Elk" and came across a link to King's Outdoor World, the particular page features two still pictures and a video clip titled "What Does This Elk Score?" The following is a quote from that page:

"This bull is a herd bull that is a result of transplanted elk to the east to help build up the herd years ago and therefore has a radio collar on its neck as wildlife authorities keep a close eye on the herd. Don’t let that make you think that it is a high fenced bull. This is a fair chase bull that a lucky hunter could very well get this year through their lottery draw."

Of course it is not a high fenced bull, but it is completely tame and trusting to humans. This is bull number 36 or "Fred" as most call him. He has survived to date by remaining in the No Hunting Zone. This animal's tolerance range of humans can be measured in mere feet. "Fair Chase", I think not!

It totally gripes me, why people cannot enjoy seeing an impressive animal such as this without thinking about killing him. The video clip starts with a shot of another bull and then there is Fred chasing a cow. You can hear someone say," I think I could even hit him from here" Some one else says ,"Oh I could probably get one in him"

Bull Number 36-"Fred"
Above is a photograph of "Fred" in 2005 when he had a more perfect and perhaps larger rack. It would simply be murder to shoot this bull. I featured him in a previous post where he was shown with the rack that he had this fall and with his collar showing. In the picture above it was removed in photoshop.

It would seem to me that even dedicated hunters would want to preserve at least a few of these monsters so that they could drive to the viewing areas and see what a true large bull looks like, but evidently some are not that far sighted. All they can think about is pulling the trigger or releasing the arrow.

I have been assured by a person who is on good terms with many of the elk guides that many of them have no interest in guiding a hunter to "Fred". In her words, "The person who kills Fred will be totally ostracized." I hope that is the case.

Since 1997 I have had him in numerous circumstances where I could have "put one in him", but I never had the slightest desire or thought of it. Instead I enjoyed observing this magnificent animal and obtaining photographs of him.

My experience is not unique. Most serious visitors to Winslow Hill have gotten close enough to him to"put one in him" on numerous occasions! Many specifically look for him when they travel to the elk range and are concerned about his welfare.

I think many would enjoy the outdoors and wildlife more if they could drop this total absorption with killing. They carry the obsession to the stage that it becomes a disease!

I must repeat that I have no quarrel with the person who hunts legally and ethically!


Anonymous said...

I totally agree.

People are nuts and love to kill.

Elected officials made it legal to kill and called it "Sport" and make money off it by selling a license.

I wonder how many years it will be before people are sold a license to hunt other human beings?

So far it is still illegal to kill human beings but nowadays it is almost as common as killing wildlife. The mall in Omaha is a classic example of killing for sport. What other reason? He left a note that he was going out in style.

I don't watch things like this on television or read about it anywhere as it makes me sick to my stomach.

The worst part of all this is that these "Sportsmen" think they are good guys and gals and St Peter is holding the door open to Heaven for them. If that's what is going to Heaven then I prefer the other place with the dogs and cats.

Tina Leigh said...

Oh my this is sad. When Danny & I got to see the elk in N.C. we were really taken a back. We really enjoyed it. WE did talk about hunting but it would not be those is more of a dream. Thinking back 100 & even more years ago when the elk were plenty & hunting was not just a sport but a NEED to live. It is the dream of how things once were & WILL NEVER be again despite how much conservation by our government takes place. Times are different & people are many. Hunting Fred would be murder! By the way have you ever heard of Cades Cove, Tenn. This is another place we like to go to because of the wildlife viewing. Huge deer...heards of them & bear. My husband always carries the video camera & I take the photos. It is a "HUNTING CHALLENGE" between us to get the best pictures of the most bear or the biggest deer. When I grow up, I want to move there! I am so enjoying you & your brothers blog.

Willard said...


I have been to Cades Cove several times and in fact had originally planned to me there from Sunday through Friday of this week, but then decided not to go for various reasons. It is truly an exceptional place.

That is part of the point I want to get to about PA Elk. There should be a place like Cades Cove or Shenandoah National Park in Pennsylvania. The elk range is the closest we will ever get to that. Much of it should be preserved like those areas so that people can see and enjoy these large animals.

When I first went to our elk range in 1995 there was not as many elk as there are today, but there were many more mature bulls. I saw sights that make the chills run down my back thinking about them.

Imagine nine bulls-some of them monsters-chasing a cow in heat and threatening each other. Or consider two monster bulls locked in ferocious combat. I had the thrill of videotaping this twice.

One can still see many bulls in the right areas today but most of the "large" ones are 6x6s and 6x7s. It leaves one with a sad sense of loss.

Tina Leigh said...

OK now I'm begining to not like you!lol, its not fair that you get the elk up there & the big deer AND you get to come to MY cove for a week!!! Yes I agree Pa needs some place like the cove. No i cant imagine seeing what you videoed..... I would probably have a heart attack. Those are the things Danny & I dream about. I think him & I were born in the wrong time period! Y

Willard said...

One thing I forgot to mention is that most of the big bucks we photograph are in Shenandoah National Park which is about 3 hours drive. There are not as many large bucks there as The Cove, but it is enough to make it interesting and the backgrounds are often superb.

We do have more large bucks here since antler restrictions were enacted in I think 2002, but most of them are quite shy.

My favorite sport with the local bucks is videotaping them in velvet in the summer. This is another thing I intend to explain in detail soon in a post but basically I can mount a 35mm telephoto on my camcorder which enables me to easily videotape deer at 300-400 yards and still get a good sized image of them. This is often needed with wild Pennsylvania bucks.

imac said...

Its time some people learnt that KILLING is wrong and to look and admire what NATURE can and will bring to people.

Thanks for looking in on my lil ol blog and your comments.

The story continues in my blog.

Coy Hill said...

This bull has brought enjoyment to many, probably thousands during his life; one shot and it is all over.

This bull and others like him are a tremendous tourist attraction in an area with limited economic activity. The value of these bulls “on the hoof” must far surpass the paltry sum that is derived from 40 + hunters hunting for a day or so. The Game Commission does not consider the herd as over populated in any of the hunt zones.

If the hunt does not make sense ethically or economically; then why do we continue to destroy that which does bring enjoyment to many and economic activity to the area?

bluemountainmama said...

wow! fred is quite a magnificent creature! it would be a cryin' shame to shoot him. i'm all for hunting, but there are boundaries...

they have also released elk in cataloochie valley in NC. i believe they are protected there, like they are in cades cove.

and thanks for the help over at my site...i'll have to look into the cookies. i think blogger changed something b/c other things have been different.