Saturday, May 22, 2010

Camera Critters: Bull 36 Pennsylvania's Most Famous Elk

I spent most of last week in Pennsylvania's Elk Country.  The primary goals of the trip were to photograph bull elk in velvet and to meet  several other wildlife photographers and bloggers.

When I arrived on Monday afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised to find Bull#36, commonly known as "Fred or Freddy", feeding in a meadow along Winslow Hill Road.  He is the most famous bull in Pennsylvania and is now also quite possibly the oldest.

Bull#36 (Fred) May 2010

 I first filmed him in 1997 when he had a small but beautiful branch antlered rack.  He quickly grew into a magnificent animal and in his prime numbered among  the most impressive bulls that Pennsylvania has produced.

Fred: Autumn 2005
 Now he is in rapid decline.  His knees are knobby, he walks with an arthritic shuffle, and there appears to be problems with one eye.   I saw him again on the next day as he grazed near the road and what a privilege it was to photograph this aging monarch who was once the dominant bull on Winslow Hill.

An Aging Monarch: May 2010

It is likely that he  has survived to this point by remaining in the No Hunt Zone during elk season, but old age is taking its' toll and his long career will most likely be over soon.

For more Camera Critters photographs, Click Here!