Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Whitetail Bucks Shed The Velvet

Many of the whitetail bucks shed their velvet during the last week of August and the first part of September, but I had not seen any signs of this until September 1st, when a four-point came running into the meadow with the velvet completely shed.

Velvet Completely Shed

That evening a small three point showed up that aptly portrayed how the process usually proceeds.  The velvet on his right antler had small cracks, and was speckled with bloody spots and streaks of blood, while velvet hung in long bloody strips from the left one.

Velvet With Small Cracks And Bleeding
Velvet Hanging In Strips
Soon all of the bucks will have bare antlers and the first stirrings of the pre-rut and rut will sweep through the herd, as the cooler weather of autumn arrives.

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Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill

Monday, August 30, 2010

Keystone Elk Country Alliance To Decide On Wednesday About Labor Day Weekend Opening

Elk Country Visitor Center: June 16, 2010-photo by W.Hill

There has been a lot of speculation as to when the Elk Country Visitors Center near Benezette, Pa. will open and today Paul Staniszewski, a Juried PA Wilds Artisan, sent the latest news concerning the center and the opening date.

Mr. Staniszewski reports, "I went up to Benezette this morning (Monday) and saw that a black iron gate like the one going to the Homestead has now been installed at the entrance to the visitors center.... Also, a cinder block base has been constructed to hold the Elk Country Visitors Center sign.... The people at the visitors center tell me that they will decide on Wednesday if they will open for Labor Day week".

The opening date will be posted on The Keystone Elk Country Alliance Website. Be sure to click on the Visitor Center tab.

Paul also reports seeing several bulls and hearing a lot of bugling on Winslow Hill as the rut gets underway.

Pennsylvania Bull Elk: photo courtesy of Paul Stanszewski-all rights reserved
Paul has also heard  that the buildings at the Gilbert Viewing Area are scheduled to be razed very soon as the reclamation project in that area comes to a close.

 Gilbert Buildings Likely Scheduled For Demolition: Photo by W.Hill-Winter 2006
I have referred to this as "The Gilbert Viewing Area" for years, but this is not the official name at present.  It was called The Gilbert Farm when I first went to Elk County in 1995 as it was owned by Kenny Gilbert who spent summers there and winters in Florida.  In 2000 the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation partnered with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to purchase the land.  Later stewardship of the property was transferred to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. At the time of purchase , it was simply referred to as "The Gilbert" and it seemed likely that it would be called "the Gilbert Viewing Area", yet when a sign was erected last year, it was named "The Porcupine Hollow-Winslow Hill Viewing Area".

Porcupine Run-Winslow Hill Elk Viewing Area Sign: photo by W.Hill

We have no other confirmation that the demolition is scheduled, but it is consistent with Game Commission policy as in most cases he PGC does not maintain buildings on lands which it acquire, unless they are suited for a specific need.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill