Friday, December 16, 2011

Pennsylvania Flintlock Deer Season Approaches

Rifle deer season closed this past Saturday giving the deer a short break from hunting pressure.  Archery season began on October 1st and continued until mid-November so the deer have faced two solid months of hunting pressure.  As a result, the survivors are quite skittish--especially the bucks.  The rut still continues at a very low level and will do so for quite some time yet, as a few does come in heat late.  Few get to observe this as the surviving bucks are nearly impossible to see.

Whitetail Buck Chasing Doe

Flintlock and late archery season begins on December 26th and continues through January 16th in our area.  It is in for a longer period in certain areas so consult the 2011-12 Hunting And Trapping Digest for further details before hunting.  Both antlered and antlerless deer are legal game for those that have not yet filled their tags, but only one buck may be taken per license year so those that have already taken a buck in archery or rifle season may not hunt for bucks in this season.

Hunters May Kill Only One Pennsylvania Buck Per License Year
Most Deer Killed In Late Flintlock/Archery Season Will Be Antlerless
Hunters should obey all game laws and regulations and conduct themselves in an ethical manner, remembering that everything that is legal is not necessarily ethical.  But how can that be you might ask?  I intend to address this issue and more in the near future.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Another Winslow Hill Favorite Killed In 2011 Hunt

Wildlife Artist and photographer David Anderson alerted members of the elk watching/photography community some time ago about the death of another favorite bull.  This was an impressive 7x8 bull that thrilled thousands of tourists during the rut on Winslow Hill.  Many if not most of the bulls leave Winslow Hill after the rut and this bull was not killed on Winslow Hill, but in nearby Jay Township, Elk County.  Anderson had been working on a painting of this particular animal.

7x8 Rests With Harem Near Large Number Of Tourists Along Dewey Road
I concentrated on filming the rut this year, and my still photography suffered greatly as I was usually running a video camera during my best elk encounters.  As a result, most of the photographs I am posting today are still captures from the Canon XL-H1 video camera.  The following is one of the most dramatic frame captures I was able to find from the HD video.

7x8 Pauses To Pant On Winslow Hill
Saturday evening, September 24th found The Saddle filled with elk and elk watchers.  I was on a favorite pond bank with the XL-H1, recording the activity.  Two large  bulls came from the woods and passed by where I was standing.  Both were exceptional, but one had a broken beam.  The other was the 7x8.  The following photo was taken at that time and shows how the bull looked from a side view.

7x8 Passes By Pond Bank

The bulls continued past the pond and into a clover strip along the road through the saddle, where they joined a large herd of cows and smaller bulls.

7x8 With Harem Near Elk Watchers
This elk was not among the wildest that I have seen, but neither was he the most acclimated to humans.  Depending on the circumstances he seemed to have a 40-75 yard tolerance range.  I never actually saw him bolt from humans, but did see him move slowly away when persons got inside his comfort zone.

With the loss of this bull and another one known as "Ear Hook", the two largest bulls commonly seen on Winslow Hill this fall are gone.  

Anderson notes that he intends to complete the painting after the Holidays.

Originally Posted At Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.