Thursday, November 6, 2014

Iconic Pennsylavania Elk Killed In 2014 Elk Season

Today I received news that the most famous and likely the most photographed  mature bull elk in Pennsylvania was shot and killed on the second day of elk season by a young hunter from Erie.  This was the bull known as "Limpy" which I filmed and photographed  for the first time in 2009 when he was already a mature 7x7 bull. The 2014 elk season began on Monday November 3rd and will continue through Saturday November 8 with an extended season in certain areas on November 10--15th.

"Limpy" 2009
 He became known as "Limpy" in 2010 when he was injured and walked with a limp thereafter.  My Brother Coy of Country Captures photographed him silhouetted against a dramatic sunset that year and I used that for the cover photo on my documentary film, "Running Wild In Pennsylvania Elk Country", which was released in 2012.

"Limpy" 2010
He had a smaller rack in 2011.  This was probably because of the  effects of the injury.

"Limpy" 2011
 He rebounded from his injury in 2012, and grew an impressive rack.

Limpy: 2012

Through the years I filmed and photographed him and always expected that each year would be his last, but somehow he survived.  I suspected that he spent elk season on posted ground and likely quite close to someone's home or cabin as this bull was completely acclimated to humans and had no fear of them whatsoever.

Limpy: 2013
The Pennsylvania Game Commission Calendar has featured photos of  "Limpy"taken by my brother Coy in  the 2014 and 2015 Calendars.  One thing is certain, he will not be featured again unless photographs from the past are used.

Limpy: 2014 The Final Year
There are a lot of elk in Pennsylvania with many  bulls of respectable size out there. This should continue for the foreseeable future, but the death of this animal marks the passing of a time on Winslow Hill when one could follow the life and development  of a bull through the years and brings a final conclusion to a definitive era of elk watching and photography on Winslow Hill and we are the worse for its' passing

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


Steve Ferendo said...

Willard, I share your grief and pain. We are facing a similar situation on the Monocacy National Battlefield. I have photos of the drop tine buck from the past three years. He will probably succumb to a sharpshooter using night vision optics on a silenced rifle while eating at a bait pile this winter.

Unknown said...

Willard, this was a very nice collection and story of the few short years you knew Limpy. There are many sad people tonight. One thing for sure, Limpy will be talked about for years to come.

Unknown said...

Willard, I remember seeing photos of "Limpy" posted on line in 2013. I knew I had to go to Benezette and seek out this majestic animal. I made some contacts with the Benezette Camera Club and was helped by many. Circumstances were that Paul S. and I met and he took me under his wing to show me the ropes up on the saddle. I can't put into words the way I felt sneaking up on Limpy and his harem of about 30 cows. It is something I will treasure forever. I made a return trip this September accompanied by my non-photographer brother from out of state. We indeed had some close encounters with "Limpy" and his harem and rivals. He will be missed. I only hope that some of the rivals grow to be as much of a draw to the Saddle as he was.

Ruth Hiebert said...

It is sad to see an animal like that be taken down for sport.

Kay said...

It's not "sport" to kill a tame animal. So very sad. RIP Limpy. I mourn your death and apologize for my kind. I am beyond embarrassed to be one of them.

Unknown said...

I agree. Makes me sick. Why do we need to kill them?
The elk are used to humans around them all the time and then all of a sudden they are supposed to know it's killing season ?
And what about the 3 that were taken illegally? The largest spread ever and some creep had to kill it.
It's not like we are being over run with elk population.
again... sickening!

Woody Meristem said...

It's one thing to pursue a truly wild and wary animal, it's quite another to shoot one that is less wary of humans than many domestic cattle.

Limpy gave so much pleasure to so many people over the years that to have him die for one person's enjoyment borders on the immoral.

And yes, he was nearing the end of his life and may not have lasted through the winter but he should have died a natural death.

Willard said...

Thanks so much to all for sharing your thoughts.

Unknown said...

I feel sad about the lottery for Elk Hunt in my home county of Pennsylvania. They are extremely tame and can be seen in my yard many times of the year. Supposedly the lottery is for population control, what's wrong with sterilization of a few, since we are already tagging and tracking a lot of them? At least this would allow the preservation of their beauty, a large draw to the area for tourists.

Michael Allen said...

I only learned to know "Limpy" here on your blog - it seems only a month or so ago. I was looking forward to seeing him again here next year and feeling some measure of familiarity.

This is surely sad news.

Thank you for sharing your collection (the progression) of photos of such a magnificent animal.

Keiters said...

Just wanted to let you know that I shared the link to this page on facebook and it has reached 11,656 people so far. Thank you for sharing your photos and thoughts of this beautiful animal.

Unknown said...

Beautiful! He will be missed. :( Thanks for sharing Willard.