Saturday, June 19, 2010

Camera Critters: A Living Legend

I spent most of last week in Pennsylvania's Elk Country.  Photography had to take a back seat at times during this trip as I attended a very informative workshop on elk, which was presented by The Pennsylvania Game Commission and also spent a lot of time discussing elk issues with concerned citizens.

I was fortunate enough to encounter Bull #36 on several occasions.  He is more commonly known as "Fred" by most elk enthusiasts.  Many do not feel a trip to elk country is completely successful unless they see this gentle giant.

Fred: Bull 36
 I filmed him for the first time in 1997 when he was a beautiful young bull and have recorded him each year since except for 2002 and 2003 when our path's did not cross.  He was fitted with a radio transmitter collar in 2004 and has been officially known as Bull 36 since that time.

Fred: A Living Legend

No one I talked to is certain exactly how old he is, but agree that he is at least 16 years old, and probably 17 or more.  I was surprised to see that his rack is this large as it did not appear to have the potential to grow this much when I saw him in May.  He also was suffers from arthritis, but now seems to be walking much better.  Still he has to be near the end of his lifespan and it was truly a pleasure to photograph a living legend.

In contrast, the young fawn pictured below is hopefully just beginning life, although there is a fairly high mortality rate from predators and natural causes.  Please note that this is not a young elk, which is known as a calf, but rather a whitetail deer fawn. I did not have any close encounters with calves during this trip, although I did see several, which were too far away for good still photography.

1 Day Old Whitetail Fawn

For more Camera Critters photographs from around the world, Click  Here!