Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pennsylvania Elk Season Results-2013

Character Bull "Limpy" Most Likely Survived

I did not go to Pennsylvania Elk Country to cover elk season this year, and while there has been quite a bit of statistical information available about the hunt results, there has been little to no information available as to the impact on the bulls that most who photograph at the Winslow Hill viewing areas are used to seeing. 

We wish to thank Jeff Thomas for sending us the following report late Friday evening. 

"As of 2:30 this afternoon all the bull tags and 52 of the cow tags were filled.I saw the first 22 bulls and heard the last 3 were not very large, so it looks like Limpy and the U bull have made it through again. I will be posting 2 pictures on face book of bulls that will  not be back for next years rut.They only got 25 bulls because one of the bull tag holders did not show up. They don't know if he had moved or did not want to hunt.Will keep you posted if I hear anything else."

The first bull Jeff is referring to is one that was known by some as "The Field Bull" because for a time he was one of the most commonly seen bulls in the upper field at the Gilbert Viewing Area. He was also seen in "The Saddle Area" and that is where he is shown in the photo below.  Gray Hill is in the background.

Field Bull-Killed Ardell Road Area 2013
Another decent size bull was taken on SGL 311 which is the game lands that surrounds the viewing areas.  I have no information as to exactly what portion of the game lands that he was killed.

7x7 Killed SGL 311 2013
An unusual bull that many have photographed for the past two years appears to have survived elk season this year.  Some refer to it as the "U" bull.  It appears to have the genetics of the "Crazy Legs" strain.  I only filmed him at extreme distance this year and got no still photographs.  Jeff photographed him in 2012, but got no photos this year, so I am posting two of his photos from last year so you can see the antler configuration of this bull.

"U" Bull in 2012

U Bull Likely A Descendant of the "Crazy Legs" Bulls
I will post more information if and when it becomes available.  I also plan to discuss elk management and other controversial subjects such as anthropomorphism in the near future in a View From The Saddle post.

Again, I wish to extend a special thanks to Jeff Thomas for providing the information and several of the photos for todays post.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Reactions to Bull Fight Ends In Death Post

Goring Victim: Photo Courtesy of Ronald J. Saffer- Used by permission
The recent post, "Bull Fight Ends in Death" gained national exposure when it was shared on the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Facebook Page. The person who shared the post introduced it with the tag, "Nature is not a Disney movie. Here's another real life --and deadly-- example of what can happen in the wild when bulls spar."
The reader comments on the blog post seemed to draw the most attention. The one that drew  the most ire was  "It is a shame to see beautiful wildlife of any kind dead. However, I would much rather see a dead elk caused by an elk-to-elk fight than a dead elk killed by a hunter". This was followed by a comment in agreement with that sentiment and then two comments that expressed sadness that the bull died.

The reaction to these comments was all out of proportion to what was actually said.  First of all I will say that I have only personally met one of those that originally commented, but I follow the others  blogs and Facebook pagse and and have read their thoughts on many things. Some if not most have either  hunted in the past and may still hunt at present, or have family members that do-- I do not know and I do not care.  The lady who drew the most negative attention did not say that hunting was wrong and did not personally attack any hunter, she simply would rather  that the animal died doing what bull elk ordinarily do and not be killed by a hunter.  That statement is not pro-hunting, but neither is it an attack on hunting or hunters. I repeat she did not personally attack any hunter, but some of those  that commented later did not return the courtesy and did personally attack her while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity in some cases.

I will post the comments here and follow with a brief bit of commentary about each.
Paul Griffin said...
"Sure hate to see that meat go to waste. Would have loved to have tagged that beautiful creature and filled my freezer! Roasts, steaks, jerky, salami and back straps galore! MmmmMmm mmm Good!"
November 5, 2013 at 11:23 AM 
My Take: Griffin has been on Blogger since January 2012 and has had four profile views in that time.  He shares no personal information.  His comment seems designed to draw a reaction from someone who does not approve of hunting, but is not an attack.
"Okay, you people make me laugh.The elk are competing with one another for the right to breed. Their fighting isn't meant as a spectacle for those of us watching, it is a life and death struggle and truly defined as "survival of the fittest." It's not "sad", it's the way the world works. There are no second place trophies in nature.

And for you anti-hunting types, shall I remind you that the only reason these elk are in PA is BECAUSE of modern hunters and the value they place on the conservation of natural resources? The Eastern Elk was "hunted" to extinction in the 1800's, not for sport but out of necessity by the farmers whose crops they decimated. As the conservation movement grew at the turn of the century, the herd was reintroduced to the state using stock from western states. All the money used to originally transport them here, to acquire land to support them, to educate the public on their welfare, and to maintain the herd comes directly from the PA Game Commission and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. For you to say that elk shouldn't be hunted is as naive as it is unfair to those who have footed the bill for their very existence.

Oh, and to those of you who have "pet" deer, remember... a fed deer is a dead deer.
November 5, 2013 at 11:28 AM

My thoughts: This comment is somewhat of a turn off because the author again hides their identity behind  what appears to be an AOL account number.  It is mostly accurate once one gets past the condescending "Okay, you people make me laugh"  and his attack on feeling sadness at the loss of a bull.  The writer states, " It's not "sad", it's the way the world works. There are no second place trophies in nature".  By the same logic you could say that it was not sad that someone died from cancer or was killed in an auto accident as that is the way the world works.

Now lets look at this part; "The Eastern Elk was "hunted" to extinction in the 1800's, not for sport but out of necessity by the farmers whose crops they decimated."

My Take:  It is hard to tell if this is accurate.  I have always read that it was because of unregulated hunting and market hunting in particular, but I never heard it blamed on "farmers"  Of course some farmers would have participated, but so would persons from other vocations such as loggers, etc.

This commentator says in reference to the re-introduction "All the money used to originally transport them here, to acquire land to support them, to educate the public on their welfare, and to maintain the herd comes directly from the PA Game Commission and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation"

My Take:First a bit of historical background.  The PGC established a elk hunting season in in 1923 with only bulls of 4 or more points being legal.  Twenty -three bulls were killed the first year, but by 1925 the kill was only 6.  In 1931, only one animal was killed and the season was closed the following year. (Harrison: The Elk of Pennsylvania)  After that the PGC lost interest in the elk herd and it was not until the 1970s that another state agency now known as DCNR began elk habitat management work on their lands.  It was only after the herd began to rebound and interest to grow in it that the PGC devoted their attention to the elk herd again.  This is no bad reflection on many of the PGC field personnel at that time  or the agency at present, but the PGC was not always supportive of the elk at upper management levels and not all funding for elk work has come from the PGC or RMEF.  Even to this day  the majority of the public lands in elk country are administered by DCNR , which is not funded by hunting license dollars

"Oh, and to those of you who have "pet" deer, remember... a fed deer is a dead deer."

 My Take: This is a bit of propaganda that has gained widespread acceptance and has a nice ring  to it.  Like most propaganda it does contain a kernel of truth , but one only needs look around a field of corn left standing to see that to a large extent it is not so or else the field would be ringed by the carcasses of dead deer, etc.  It can contribute to the spread of disease, but so can a food plot.  

As to his closing statement, "You should educate yourself on a subject matter before speaking to it"--I couldn't agree with him more on that one.
Adam Prusinowski said...
"Linda is a very ignorant or naive person to leave that comment
 November 5, 2013 at 11:44 AM

My Take: A personal attack with  no constructive value.

Mr. Ego, to you. said...
"Honestly people, stop anthropomorphizing these animals. Yes, you can grieve for the dead, you are human. But don't put your feelings into an animal that does this for shear necessity. For those who do not know what the word is I posted, here is the definition:

[ ànthrəpə máwr fz ]

treat nonhuman thing as human: to give a nonhuman thing a human form, human characteristics, or human behavior

My Take:
This name is linked to a blogger profile that has had four views since  May 2011. Anthropomorphism is a  subject is for another day, but all in all I don't see that it has much to do with the issue at hand--in fact there was no issue at hand other than reporting the death of a bull as the result of a fight.
November 5, 2013 at 11:52 AM
Pianoman said...

"To Linda:Just so you know, there wouldn't be any elk in PA unless hunter conservationists had given their money and their volunteerism to transplant them there. You may not want to hunt and that's your choice. But you need to know that hunters spend more money and give more time to wildlife conservation than all other animal groups combined. Without hunters, the elk in this story would likely never have been born."
November 5, 2013 at 5:53 PM

My Take: No abuse or unprofessional behavior here, but the person did not put their real name to it.  It is possible to find that they are a moderator on the Hunting Washington forum.  The part that many that take this stance  never tell you is that they do not want other sources of funding for wildlife conservation. They want to be able to hold it over the head of the non-consumptive user of wildlife that the hunter pays the bill and wildlife should be managed for them alone.
 weiserbud12 said...
"Yeah because feeding my family is appalling. Your stupid, your an animal remember?
November 6, 2013 at 10:48 AM"

My Take: This comment speaks for itself.

In closing I must say that it never ceases to amaze me how that many who comment on issues of the day do their cause more harm than good by the tenor of their writing.  I cannot help but wonder if they have ever converted anyone to their point of view by calling them "stupid" and "clueless"

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.