Sunday, June 21, 2015

Calves And Bulls In Pennsylvania Elk Country

I spent most of the past week in Pennsylvania Elk Country with the primary focus of the trip being the photography of elk calves and bulls in velvet.  A large herd of cows was seen most mornings and evenings along Dewey Road.  At times it was possible to see calves with them and sometimes there were many of them.  Mostly the calves were seen either very early or very late when the light was less than ideal for quality photographs.

Elk Calf

Many of the elk were very shy and calves especially usually didn't linger near the road.  It is common for them to be more spooky at this time of year as the cows are especially concerned about protecting the young from danger.  Many of the calves were fitted with ear tags.  This is done by workers capturing the calves and fitting them with the tags and collecting biological data and it seems likely that this also contributes to the animals being especially shy at this time of year.

Extended Family Group
No ear  tags are visible in today's photographs, but I have quite a bit of video of calves with tags and will hopefully be posting a short video of wildlife seen on the trip in the near future.  As usual, I took mostly video as it works better in very low light conditions or at long range. 

Most of the bulls seen from the road on Winslow Hill were small, but one 5x5  was of respectable size, although it is still a young bull and far from realizing its' maximum potential. A few years ago this meadow provided an excellent background of wildflowers and tall grasses, but now it is kept mowed.

5x5 Pauses From Grazing In Short Grass
The largest bull of the trip was seen well over 100 yards away in Cameron County  one morning and I took a few photos of him. hand-held with the  70D and the new model 100-400mm as the animal was very edgy and seemed likely to flee at any moment..

Cameron County 6x6-Canon 70D-100-400mm IS II
Although he acted very nervous he did not leave, so I cautiously set up the 600mm and the 7D MK II on a tripod and took a few frames.

Cameron County 6x6-Canon 7D MK II-600mm F4
It was a good trip on the whole and I hope to post more about it in the next few days, which will include photos of the relocation of Dewey Rd and the construction of the new parking lot there.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


Ruth Hiebert said...

The calves are very cute and those bulls look majestic even in velvet.

Paul said...

Willard... Great photographs and well written article...

Linda G. said...

Very nice photography. Looking forward to your next posts.