Friday, November 5, 2010

How To Access Our Ideas On Pennsylvania Elk Management

Elk In Hunt Zone 2 October 31, 2010: Photo by W.Hill
 Today I return after being in Pennsylvania Elk Country since Friday Oct. 29 to observe first hand events leading up to the hunt and activity on the first three and 1/2 days of elk season.While we will delve into specific details of the trip in future posts, today I wish to address the core beliefs that drive this blog. At one point I joined several persons in contributing to the Support PA Elk Blog.  The mission statement that blog is as follows:

"The Pennsylvania Elk Herd is a unique and valuable natural resource that should be managed for all of the citizens of the Commonwealth. Hunting may be a necessary management tool at times, but it should be used only to control populations and not promoted as a viable trophy hunt. At present much of the herd is comprised of acclimated animals, which raises serious questions as to the fair chase nature of any hunt. The herd is of far more value as a viewable resource to the citizens of The Commonwealth than a limited hunt can ever be and a truly satisfying tourist experience cannot be based on a herd that flees at the sight of humans. A significant expansion of the No Kill Zone is essential! We also need to support some method as to gain funding for the PGC from tourism as this would give them a vested interest in tourism rather than as it is now when they receive little to no income from it."

One of the major disadvantages to a blog versus a website is that the material is being continually updated and important informant is eventually lost in the shuffle.  This is especially true of our personal photo blogs where the management/issue related posts are scattered among posts dealing with a wide range of subjects.There is little point in re-writing the same articles over and over, so for those who are interested in Pennsylvania elk management issues, I have compiled a list of certain posts from the SupportPAElk Blog.  Another option is to simply go to the Support PA Elk Blog and read all of the posts.

I bring this up as I was talking to a person that was interested in elk management issues and referred them to Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer blog as a source for information on elk management from the non-consumptive users point of view, but after they left I realized that one has to sort through a lot of material to find the elk management related writing and that the links to other elk information are not the most intuitive.  Hopefully putting this information in one post will help new readers interested in elk issues, until I can come up with a better layout for the blog. Simply click on the title to go to that specific post on Support PA Elk.
Why Hunt Our Elk?: By Coy Hill-Explores the reasons for the Pennsylvania Elk Hunt.

Scientific Wildlife Management? By Willard Hill-Raises the questions-does science dictate that we have an elk hunt and have our elk management policy decisions always been based on sound science?

Who Really Pays For Elk Mangement -Is A Change Needed? By Willard Hill- Raises the point that much of the public land in the elk range is owned by DCNR, which is not funded by hunting license dollars so to a certain extent the hunting public is being subsidized by taxpayer dollars.

More Questions Than Answers? By Coy Hill-Asks the important question-who really owns the elk?

Pennsylvania Elk: The PGC & The Money By Coy Hill-Further explores elk funding issues.

Pennsylvania Elk: Two Compelling Reasons To Expand The No Kill Zone: By Willard Hill-Discusses why there should be a larger No Hunt or No Kill Zone.

Pennsylvania Elk Management: A Need For More Mature Bulls: By Willard Hill-Discusses the size and composition of the elk herd , includes PGC Elk Biologists Jon DeBerti's thoughts as to herd size and large bull survival.

Genetics And The Hunt: By Jim Borden-Discusses the possibility that we may be damaging the genetics of the elk herd by removing the biggest and best.

Also be sure to visit Benezette Elk on Facebook for interesting discussion and photographs

Pennsylvania Elk Harvest Report

For the past two years the Pennsylvania Game Commission elk check station has been located at the Food and Cover Corps maintenance building along the Quehanna Highway near Karthaus. All successful hunters are required to bring harvested animals to the station so that biological and other data may be gathered.

PGC Elk Check Station Quehanna Highway:Photo by W.Hill
The following statistics are what were posted on the informational board outside the maintenance as of late morning on Thursday November 5, 2010.

Bulls: 15   Cows: 16.  This is from a total allocation of 17 bulls for the November season and 33 cows.  Counting the Special Conservation Tag bull taken earlier, the total number of bulls taken as of late Thursday morning was 16.

The bulls broken down by Hunt Zone and points are: Zone 2: 7x7, 5x6, Zone 3: 7x6, 5x6, Zone 4: 6x6, Zone 7:  9x7, Zone 8: Hunter had tag for Zone 8 but filled it in Zone 11, Zone 9: 7x7, 6x6, Hunter had tag for Zone 9 but filled it in Zone 11, Zone 10: 8x9, 7x7, Zone 11: 7x6, 7x7, 7x7. I asked for clarification above the Zone 11 situation  and was told that anyone with a tag could fill it either in their designated unit or in Zone 11.  I asked no further questions as I assumed that this Zone would be shown in the Hunting Digest, but it is not in my copy of it, so at this point it is unclear just what area Zone 11 encompasses. 

PGC Personnel Process Elk: Photo by W.Hill
While the regular elk season ends on Saturday, there is a week long season outside of the Elk Management Area, which runs from November 8-13, 2010.It requires a valid Elk Hunting License with an unfilled tag and a limit of one antlered or one antlerless elk, depending on what license the hunter originally obtained. At this point it appears likely that there will be several unfilled cow licenses, but there should be few if any bull hunters still qualified to hunt during this season. One guide pointed out that there is a discrepancy in the hunting license digest between the map of the area which is off limits to hunting during this season and the text describing the same situation. Giving accurate advice on this situation is beyond the scope of this article, but hunters would be well advised to obtain accurate information as to where hunting is permitted before venturing into a questionable area.