My son and I came across this bull in the small village of Benezette. He was in town just chillin’–laying comfortably beside the road not seemingly bothered by all the attention he was getting! He is not a gigantic bull by any means, but he will hopefully be some day. He looked rather majestic at times and I am hoping we get the opportunity to watch him grow over the next 10 years.
The weekend of New Year’s we saw a lot of elk and two nice bulls. We saw some small bulls, too, but two were 7x7s. It was good to see that at least a few big bulls are still around after the elk hunting season. We do not see as many of the big bulls as we used to before the elk hunt started again. I understand that hunters want the trophy bulls, but I agree with Willard Hill that a healthy balance needs to be struck between the hunters and those of us who like to view and photograph the elk. I am happy to see that more and more hunters are going back to using bows, as I also prefer them to guns. There was a time when I used to collect and assemble the upper parts for AR-15’s with the other equipments, to make the perfect range gun. But now, I would rather invest in the best compound bow for the money, and take time practicing the skill than relying on advanced weapons against these beautiful creatures. I have been a hunter for 33 years, but I choose to photograph the PA elk rather than hunting them more and more often. I do believe that hunting is a viable and good solution to manage wildlife. It just needs to be done sensibly and with respect to all parties involved including those who enjoy viewing and watching the elk. After all, we now have a Visitor Center up on Winslow Hill so we need to have elk to view. I believe keeping some of the big bulls alive not only makes sense but is imperative.
Balance is a difficult goal. I am not nieve enough to believe the attempt to keep everyone happy is possible. In fact, this shouldn’t even be the goal. However, balance is the key.