Monday, January 10, 2011

Fred-Bull 36, Dies As Result Of Accident

Fred In 2002-His Largest Classic Rack: Courtesy of Ronald Saffer
Today I am sorry to report that Bull 36, know to most as "Fred" or "Fred Jr." had to be put down by PGC officials on Friday January, 7th, 2011, after he fell down on the ice and was unable to regain his footing. The fall causes a bone or bones to be broken and this along with his age and the condition of the knee joints, made any chance of recovery impossible.

Reports have been circulating all weekend on Facebook about this unfortunate circumstance, but I have been hesitant to make a definitive post about the matter until this point.  I wish to thank noted elk columnist for Endeavor News, Carol Mulvihill, and Benezett Store Manager, Beth Hoffman,  for confirming that initial reports are true.

Estimates of his age range as high as 20 years, but an analysis of his rack size in in 1997, 1998 makes it seem likely he was born no later than 1994 and it is possible he was born somewhat earlier, with 1992 being the earliest likely year..  This was when Claude Nye, more commonly know as "Dr. Perk" was heavily involved with the elk on Winslow Hill and he, Tom Murphy, and Ron Rishel would be most likely to know the true age of the animal.

According to Pennsylvania"s leading elk photographer,  Ron "Buckwheat" Saffer, he first heard people using the name "Fred, Jr". in 1998. That year, Saffer photographed him in mid-August, with a dog leash tangled in his antlers and he and his circle of friends name him "Dogrope", a name which he has used to this day.

Fred or Dogrope  In 1998 With Dog Leash In Antlers: Courtesy Ronald Saffer
I too did not hear the name, Fred Jr. until 1998, when it came into wide usage among the elk watchers and I specifically recall Dr. Perk using that name.   Since I mostly shot video during my early years in Elk County, I have no still images from that period other than frame captures from video.  I am reasonably certain that I did record Fred, Jr. in 1997 and have written about an encounter with him in the saddle that year and used footage from this in "The Truth About Pennsylvania's Elk Herd".

Bull 36 is gone now, but he will be talked about for years to come.

Marci Geise has established a page on Facebook as a tribute to Fred, where persons may share photographs and stories of their experiences with the Icon of Pennsylvania's elk herd.  If the link doesn't work, do a search of Facebook for Fred Jr.#36  and you should be able to find it.  Also visit Marci on Facebook at Elk Scenic Drive for lots of elk photographs and discussions.

Originally posted on Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


Dina said...

Aww, very sad that Fred fell on the ice. But we still have your video which is wonderful.
So nice that fans are even making a Facebook group for this elk.

Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails said...

oh no, willard, i know this is difficult for you...he was very beautiful and i know you were fond of him. what i am not sure of is the fact that he wouldn't have healed. not sure if you read my last comment but bossy's boy got hit by a car and was wobbling so badly that he would fall down. now he doesn't do that. i noted his injury christmas day and blogged about it in the post titled 'the good, the bad, the holiday season' in case you want to read it...i know fred was old and i know the bones get brittle. but i know from watching my deer up close that they recover from broken bones. bossy boy now has an injury to his left knee but his head bobbing is improving and he tried to trot yesterday evening which was soo good. i will look fred up on facebook. you are a good person to share with us your love of the elk, thank you so much!

paulstan said...

Willard.... Great tribute to "Fred"..

Cyndee said...

Thank you for the info and lovely pictures. We enjoyed watching Fred on several visits to the area. We will miss him.

V.L. Locey said...

Awww, what a shame. He was a magnificent animal.

RALNAN said...

Thanks Willard. Fred meant a lot to many people. Marci and Phil introduced us to him about 2 years ago. Bennezett folks will miss him as will many visitors.

hagerstown, md

Balaphoto said...

Excellent shots!! salut!!

Francesc, Barcelona

Anonymous said...

We will miss Fred. Many shed tears after learning of his passing. He has meant so much to so many. May we never forget this gentle giant and all of the wonderful memories he gave us.
Very nice post, and it's good to see a photo of how he got his nickname.