Saturday, October 9, 2010

Camera Critters: Pennsylvania Elk-An Evening To Treasure

On Sunday evening, September 26, Brad Myers of Bradley Myers Photo Blog accompanied me to my favorite elk photography spot.  This is the same area where the encounter with the holder of the Governor's Conservation Tag was to occur on Wednesday morning.  While we were standing on the pond bank, another group of people appeared.  It turned out that they were friends and they came and stood on the bank with us and talked for some time, but as it was growing late they decided to leave.  I knew that elk were bedded in the woods nearby and an occasional bugle could be heard.

At 6:30 a young bull came from the woods and walked directly to the base of the pond bank below us, and horned the ground for a period of time.

Young Bull Horns Ground
Sometimes bulls do this to vent their frustrations and may urinate over their legs and lower body when they do so, but in many cases they do this and then lie down to rest, which is what happened in this instance.

Young Bull Resting
It must be emphasized that this animal was aware that we were on the pond bank, yet he approached to within very close range and ignored us completely.  I have photographed wildlife most of my life and can be as secretive as the situation dictates, yet I am aware of the nature of the elk in this area and adjust my approach accordingly, so there was no attempt at concealment.

While he was doing this, a herd of elk and a large herd bull emerged from the woods, and treated us to an exciting evening.

Herd Bull And Harem
The herd bull was not quite as trusting, but he still came fairly close to where we were standing, even though we were not concealed.

Mature Herd Bull

This animal left this area on Tuesday evening and for the next few days was seen frequently at the Gilbert Viewing Area.  While conditions were less than ideal for still photography as a front was moving in which resulted in flat, uninspiring lighting, it was till an evening to treasure for years to come.

For more Camera Critters photographs, Click Here!

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


Anonymous said...

I wish my husband and I could have been there on Sept. 26th. It was our wedding anniversary, and the presence of the elk would have been a very nice anniversary present.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the photos and the wildlife lesson too.

If I saw an Elk horning the ground, I wouldn't have stayed to see what happens next. (Especially if he was peeing all over!)

Glad you're an experienced photographer who's braver than me!

Joanne Olivieri said...

Such magnificent animals. Thanks for the information on them as well. I always enjoy learning about these creatures.

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

Incredible sight perfectly captured.

Darryl and Ruth : )

Kay L. Davies said...

They are magnificent creatures, as your photos abundantly prove.

Kay, Alberta

Oskar said...

Wow, how lucky for you to have gotten to see such amazing animals!

Nubbin wiggles,

Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails said...

how wonderful to see the herd and most interesting to learn about the male urinating on his legs...yuck! do me a fave and read about my young fawn and give me your opinion. i mentioned your name but wasn't sure if you wanted me to link to you..thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Amazing photos - especially that one of the elks and the autumn foliage.

Heather said...

My experience this week proved to be even more intimate than usual. The elk were exceptionally calm and close this year. I was there with an avid elk hunter that is apalled by the idea of taking these elk for an easy kill. It was an interesting day to say the least!

cat said...

Fantastic wildlife shots!

Cheryl Kohan said...

Really beautiful! How lucky you are to be so near these magnificent creatures.

Peggy said...

What a great area! I could spend countless hours soaking in such amazing creatures and surroundings!

Anonymous said...

Glad to read about this great encounter. Very nice photos!

Gretchen said...

Beautiful as always! I used the elk for my entry this week, too.