Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eastern Timber Rattle Snake: A Rare Encounter

Eastern Timber Rattle Snake: Canon 40D 100mm 2.8 macro -ISO 100 1/200 sec. f 2.8

I used to see Eastern Timber Rattle Snakes on occasion during my years of working for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, but I had not seen one since retiring in 2007...until Sunday evening.

I was waiting by the side of a meadow in hopes that whitetail deer or wild turkeys would appear, when I happened to glance behind me and saw a large rattler crawling across the access road to the field, only a few feet away.

I moved into the area he was crawling toward in the nearby woods and got in position with the Rebel T3i on the video tripod and the Canon 7D and 500mm F4 on the still tripod.  I also scooped up the 40D with 100mm 2.8 macro, and it was hanging from my neck.  The snake spotted me, stopped and coiled-up and I began filming and photographing him.  I do not like to shoot hand-held under any circumstances, but I tried one frame with the 40D handheld and did get spot-on sharpness--see first photo.  That photo is also cropped substantially as I was not moving that close to a rattler.

I also pressed the 500mm F4 into service and took several shots.  I did not have extension tubes along, so I had to back-up a bit to use this lens and then crop severely to get a satisfactory composition.

Eastern Timber Rattle Snake: Canon 7D 500mm F4 ISO 400-1/500 sec F4

Eastern Timber Rattle Snake: Canon 7D 500mm F4 ISO 400-1/2500 sec F4
Lighting conditions were constantly changing as the sun went behind clouds or as shadows fell across the snake as the sun shifted position in relation to trees in the area.  It was very contrasty light, but thanks to the local adjustments feature in Adobe Camera Raw 7, I was able to equalize this to a certain extent and get acceptable results from this rare encounter.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hunt Zone Specific Elk License Allocations 2012

Bull Killed In 2011 Season: New State Record

Carol Mulvihill's column in the May 19th issue of Endeavor News, 65 elk licenses to be issued; herd at 800 strong,  lists the breakdown of the 2012 elk license allocations as to Elk Hunt Zone.  At this point it seems that hunting pressure will not be increased on the Winslow Hill  herd this autumn, although it remains to be seen if the No Hunt Zone will remain as it has been for the past several years, or if it will be further decreased as rumors have suggested.

As we pointed out in a previous post, the overall allocation is 1 bull and 8 cow tags  higher than last year.

The allocation is designed to focus attention on the herd in the Weedville area, with 4 bull tags and 4 cow tags issued for Zone 10, which includes the Spring Run/Weedville areas.  This contrasts to a 2011 allotment of  2 bull tags and 2 cow tags for this zone for an increase of four.  Hunt Zone 9 also directly impacts the Weedville area and license allocations for 2012 stand at 4 bull tags and 10 cow tags,  in contrast to 2 bull and 9 cow licenses in 2011 for an increase of 3 tags.

Largest Bull Seen On Winslow Hill  Rut 2011--killed in Jay Township
 On a positive note, the bull allocation in Zone 2 has been reduced from four to three tags, and cow allocations remain the same at 12 animals, but while one bull tag has been dropped, the two bull increase in Zone 10 will likely mean things remain much the same as it seems a lot of the mature bulls seen on Winslow Hill during the rut, spend the rest of the year in the Grey Hill, Spring Run, or Weedville areas--a case in point being that two of the largest bulls seen on the hill during the rut last year were killed during elk season in the Spring Run/Weedville area.

Breakdown by Zone: Source: C. Mulvihill-Endeavor News 05-19-2012

Hunt Zone     Antlered       Antlerless    Total Licenses

1                    Open                Open          
2                        3                      12                   15
3                        1                        2                     3
4                        1                        1                     2
5                     Closed              Closed                 0
6                     Closed              Closed                 0
7                        4                       10                   14
8                        2                         7                     9
9                        4                       10                   14
10                      4                         4                     8
Total                 19                       46                   65

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.