Saturday, November 13, 2010

E-Mail From Paul Staniszweski: Change In Visitor Center Operation Schedule

The following is a letter to the editor so as to speak, which was sent in the form of an e-mail.  This is from Paul Staniszweski, a retired educator who is currently a Pennsylvania Wild Juried Artist and a volunteer at the Elk Country Visitor Center.

Willard, I would like to comment on your blog: First of all, I would like to go back to October and the dedication of the Elk Country Visitors Center.... At that time, I mentioned that there was a noticeable absence of any representation from the PA Game Commission... Everyone that I talked to said that the reason was that there is an ongoing conflict between the Game Commission and the management of the Keystone Country Elk Alliance.... In my opinion, I think that more is involved. I feel that the vast majority of attendees to the "grand opening" were against the elk hunt and the Game Commission didn't want to have to answer questions about the hunt being unethical and giving new meaning to the word "sportsmanship". In truth, I believe the the PGC is embarrassed about the hunt and they know that it is a joke.... And the PGC knows that this hunt amounts to "shooting fish in a barrel".

Acclimated Bulls Sparring On Winslow Hill: Photo by Paul Staniszewski

The following are concerns I have about the hunt:

  • The elk hunt should NOT be promoted as a trophy event.
  • The "no hunt zone" needs to be extended to include Winslow Hill (I Understand that bugling was going on there throughout the hunt).
  • The elk hunt does not need to be an annual event, but conducted on a "need to have" basis.

Willard, again, these are only my thoughts and now I will get off my soapbox... Sorry for the long post...


Paul also informs us that the days and hours of operation of the Visitor Center have changed.

"The management of the visitors center has announced a change in their hours and days of operation for the upcoming months as follows: For November and December, it will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and for the open days, the hours will be 9:00 AM til 5:00 PM.... And for January, February, March,
and April it will be open on Saturdays and Sundays only from 9:00 AM til 5:00 PM."

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill

Thursday, November 11, 2010

PGC Releases Elk Hunt Results: 100% Success Rate On Bull Elk

While many claim that Pennsyilvania Elk are as wild as any and that the hunt is fair chase, we once again find that bull hunters were extremely successful.  In fact this year's success rate was 100% and last year only one bull tag was not filled. The success ratio on antlerless elk is always somewhat less.  It seems likely this is because a cow hunter is not as likely to hire a guide and is more likely to give up if they are not sucessful within the first few days of the season.

Acclimated Elk Near Boundary Of Hunt Zone 2: Photographed in 2008
We stand by our position that there needs to be a larger No Kill zone to afford  protection to more of the acclimated bulls that frequent the viewing areas.  While many bulls travel long distances to Winslow Hill during the rut, several do remain in the area and these have been hit hard since elk season resumed in 2001. 

On a postitive note the Pennsylvania Game Commission must be commended for eliminating the combined hunt zones on Winslow Hill in 2009 and allowing only hunters with zone 2 tags to hunt in zone 2.  (For a period zones 1,2,3,10 were combined which allowed a hunter with a valid tag for any of these areas to hunt wherever they chose within those 4 zones. This gave the potential for an extreme amount of hunting pressure to be directed at the elk in Zone 2, near the viewing areas on Winslow Hill. This year 2 bull  and 6 cow tags were issued for Zone 2.

Reprinted below is the official PGC news realease for the elk season which ran from Monday Nov.1 through Saturday Nov. 6th.  Please visit their website for more information on Pennsylvania wildlife.

November 09, 2010
Release #120-10
Source: The Pennsylvania Game Commission

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today announced that 41 of the 51 licensed elk hunters were successful during the 2010 elk season, which includes a possible new state record for the typical elk category.  Of that total, 18 were antlered elk and 23 were antlerless elk.
  “Elk are one of North America’s premier big game animals,” Roe said.  “Pennsylvania is privileged to offer this unique hunting opportunity, a product of successful wildlife management that supports Pennsylvania’s rich hunting heritage.  It’s an unparalleled experience for hunters, particularly those who can’t afford to go on an expensive one- or two-week guided elk hunt out West.”
           The heaviest antlered elk was taken by John A. Murray Jr., of Grindstone, Fayette County.  He took a 880-pound (estimated live weight), 7x7 on Nov. 1, in Benezette Township, Elk County. 
           Those hunters rounding out the top five heaviest (all estimated live weights) antlered elk harvested, were: Charles H. Stowman, of Westover, Clearfield County, took a 868-pound, 8x7 on Nov. 3, in Grove Township, Cameron County; Domenic V. Aversa Sr., of Woolwich, New Jersey, took an 867-pound, 7x7 on Nov. 1, in Jay Township, Elk County; Richard R. Lundgren, of Kittanning, Armstrong County, took a 852-pound, 8x9 on Nov. 1, in Jay Township, Elk County; and James F. Wolfe, of Mercersburg, Franklin County, took an 823-pound, 7x7 on Nov. 1, in Covington Township, Clearfield County.
           Roe noted that the antlers from Aversa’s elk green-scored at 389 and seven-eighths on the Boone & Crockett Club’s official scoring system.  If that score holds after the required 60-day drying time, it will set a new record for Pennsylvania state typical elk taken with a firearm. The current record is held by John A. Polenski, of Meyersdale, Somerset County, who, in 2009,  harvested a 6x7 antlered elk that scored 370.
The heaviest antlerless elk was taken by Mark E. Gowarty, of Johnstown, Cambria County, who harvested a 582-pound (estimated live weight) antlerless elk on Nov. 2, in Benezette Township, Elk County.