Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Bulls In PA Elk Country

Bulls ordinarily travel in bachelor groups during the summer months and I spent a lot of time in early morning and late evenings trying to locate them during the past weeks trip. A lot of the bulls I saw have great potential, but they needed to grow several more years to be impressive bulls.  The animal in front in the photo below is a great example.  He certainly has a lot of points, but the rack is lacking in overall mass and the bull behind him is smaller.  They were part of a bachelor group of 7-8 bulls.  One had a bit wider spread, but the points were not as well developed.

Young Bulls
Most of the other bulls that I saw were traveling in bachelor groups also.  The composition of these groups is not static and it is possible to see a bull with several others on one day and then see him on the next day with another group of bulls.  I would expect that at times the entire group combines in one large bachelor group.

The photos below are portraits of single bulls, but they were traveling with a bachelor group in both cases with no cows or calves in the meadow with them. These were the largest bulls in the herd that day and most of the bulls with them were larger than those posted in the first picture. The first has a beautiful typical rack.

Typical 6x7
The most impressive bull photographed was one that I believe to be the famous "U Bull"  He was named this a few years ago, by some of the dedicated elk photographers.  I have not had a reasonably close encounter with him until this instance and am not an authority on his characteristics. Whatever the case he appears to be of the same genetic line as the "Crazy Legs" bulls.

"The U Bull"- An Impressive Non-typical Bull
There seems to be quite a few bulls that have this genetic trait.  One was featured in the last post and I saw at least two more small bulls that show the same type of antler configuration.

All in all things seem promising for great photo opportunities during the coming rut.  Most of the bulls will be of small to medium class, but at least a few should have impressive racks. As of yet I have seen no 400 class bulls and will not be surprised if none are seen on the hill this fall.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mid-July Wildlife In PA Elk Country

Today's post features wildlife from this week's trip to Pennsylvania Elk Country.  As usual I am doing most of my shooting with video and have gotten some good footage of a variety of subjects.  I will hopefully post some of the video clips in the near future

Waiting In The Wilderness For Wildlife To Appear-Panasonic GH4 In Standby Mode

While video usually comes first with me I have gotten a few still photos.  The first is of a bachelor group of young bulls that frequents the meadows along the upper end of Winslow Hill.

Bachelor Group Along Winslow Hill Road
I photographed two respectable whitetail bucks while checking out a remote, wilderness area.   This was a bit far for good stills from the GH4 and the 100-300mm and I had to crop tightly for good composition.

Wilderness Whitetails
Unfortunately I did not see any large bulls in the wilderness areas, but I did photograph a few decent bulls in the area immediately surrounding Benezette.  Bulls are usually seen either very early or very late and the one immediately below was taken at 5:56 a.m.  It was a heavy overcast morning with scattered areas of fog, which made the 300mm f 2.8 the lens of choice.  The shot was taken from a tripod at ISO 1600-1/100 sec. f2.8.

Early Morning Bull
A bit later I found the largest bull of the trip so far.  This bull appears to share the genetic characteristics of the famous bull "Crazy Legs" and "Crazy Legs, Jr".

Bull May Be Descendant Of "Crazy Legs" Line
So far I have taken no good stills of calves, but have I gotten a lot of video of them. It seems it is too easy for me to get sidetracked concentrating on bulls.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.