Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Elk Rescue-One Year Later

Shortly over one year ago on the morning of September 18, 2009, a young bull elk was grazing and browsing in a lawn in the village of Benezette, Pennsylvania, with never a hint that in two days he would be involved in an incident that would single him out for attention and result in him being tagged with the nickname, "Swinger".

A Soon To Be Famous Young Bull Elk Sept 18, 2009-photo by W.Hill
I was loading my vehicle for the day's photo shoot at the crack of dawn on September 20, 2009, when fellow photographer Brad Myers of Bradley Myers Photography stopped by and told me that a bull elk was caught in a swing set at the old Benezette school, which is now the municipal building.  He had already spoken to someone about reporting the incident to Pennsylvania Game Commission Officials, so we proceeded to the scene and documented the rescue.  While this incident was reported in depth last year, I will re-post the short video which I made of the rescue in case someone has not seen it before.

Pennsylvania Elk Rescue from Willard C. Hill on Vimeo.

The pedicle, was broken loose from the skull and while it seemed likely that the animal would fully recover from the inident, there was a chance that future antlers that grew from that particular pedicel would be deformed.

Luckily the animal did fully recover and Elk Biologist Aide, Mark Gritzer who played a significant part in the rescue effort photographed him recently and was kind enough to share a photograph with us.

"Swinger"-One Year Later -photo: courtesy of Mark Gritzer used by Permission
There does not appear to be any significant deformity to the rack, but the velvet on the brow tine is very light colored.  At first I thought this was reflected glare from a strong ray of sunlight, but I looked again at the e-mail from Mr. Gritzer and he points out that this photo is, "displaying the white velvet", so it appears that this  is in fact caused by last year's injury.

I wish to thank Mr. Gritzer very much for sharing the photograph with us.