Saturday, November 28, 2009

Whitetail Deer-The Rut Ends As Rifle Deer Season Arrrives

Whitetail Buck Poses In Rays Of Evening Sun

Many Pennsylvanians anxiously await the arrival of Monday morning, which is the first day of rifle deer season. In many areas, deer of any sex will be legal game as long as one has the proper licenses and follows the laws and and regulations. In other areas, the first week of season will be for antlered deer only. In all cases there are some type of antler restrictions. One should read the Hunting Digest carefully before going afield.

Sadly, many will not obey the rules and regulations, or hunt by ethical standards. Many of these persons will encounter Pennsylvania Game Commission Officers and their misconduct will result in charges being filed against them.

PGC Officials Arrest Game Law Violator: Photo Courtesy of C.Hill- Country Captures

The rut will effectively end on Monday as many of the bucks will soon be taken, and those that remain will become wary and difficult to see. I will not be hunting as I have not participated in the sport since 1997 or 1998, but I hope to be out there with my cameras documenting the wildlife and any crimes against wildlife that occur in my presence.

For more Camera Critters Photos from around the world, click Here!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Pennsylvania Elk Team Blog: Support PA Elk

Bull 40 And Calf-September 2009

Pennsylvania elk enthusiasts, Marci, and Heather recently conceived the idea of developing a blog dedicated to the enhanced protection of the elk that frequent the center of elk tourism on Winslow Hill. Many if not most of these animals are acclimated to humans and hunting them cannot be considered fair chase.

Read More

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cades Cove Wildlife: The Past Revisited

Fog Rises From The Smokies

Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the premier destinations for the serious wildlife photographer. This is a large valley with an 11 mile long loop road that runs through an area of mountainous woodlands , and meadows that are often alive with whitetail deer.

I visited the park each November during the years that my daughter attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Today's photos were taken during the 2004 trip. At that point I was shooting a Canon 10D Dslr and my most powerful lens was the 100-400mm Canon L.

Whitetail photography in the park can be extremely frustrating at as the animals are often found in short mowed grass, which does not provide a truly natural or wild looking background.

8-Point Buck In Lawn Type Grass-Near Hay Barn Lower End Of Cove

Other areas have been planted in native, grasses that provide perfect backdrops if the grass is not too tall, but in many areas it is so tall that it obscures the animals. These stands of grass are maintained by prescribed burning in the spring.

Buck In Ideal Habitat-Hyatt Lane

Other species of wildlife are also frequently seen. I saw a lot of bears some years, but this was not one of them. I did get my first eastern coyote photographs that fall, when I found a young one hunting for rodents in the meadow near the hay barn.

Young Eastern Coyote

Even though I was very happy with the performance of the 100-400mm, this trip was an important factor in deciding to get the Canon 500mm F4 for the added long range capabilities.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Coy Hill Of Country Captures Speaks Out

Mature Pennsylvania Bull In Winter

Coy Hill of "Country Captures" has posted a tremendous article about the need for a larger No Kill Zone to protect the mature bulls that draw thousands of tourists to Pennsylvania's Elk Range each year. Thanks to measures taken by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in recent years, many of the most flagrant abuses that ocurred in the early years of the hunt have been addressed, but there is still more work to be done.

It seems that many view the magnificent mature bulls as just another trophy to hang on the wall, rather than considering the fact that one person can kill the animal but once, while thousands can view it time and time again. Hunting is still permitted too close to the viewing areas. We need to protect more of the elk that visit the viewing areas, not just the viewing areas and a small buffer zone around them.

The post may be found on the new team blog dedicated to promoting the responsible viewing and photography of Pennsylvania's elk herd, Support PA Elk.