Thursday, September 29, 2011

Elk In The Pennsylvania Wilds

Here in the Pa Wilds...

the elk are bugling!
Pennsylvania elk bugling
   About twenty years ago I remember Paul Harvey saying, "There's music in them thar hills...the elk are bugling." So I decided to head over to to Elk County, Pa to see and hear Pennsylvania's wild elk. 
Paul Harvey was right, the elk's bugling is "music" rolling off the hills.
Bull elk bugling while standing in the Sinnemahoning
Ever since then, our family has been going back every year and taking along friends that haven't experienced
the thrill of seeing the elk roaming the Pa Wilds.
Some folks call it "elk viewing".

Well, there is a lot of drama to see while "viewing" the elk herds.
Those of you familiar with elk know what's happening in the photo below... paralleling.
These bull elk aren't buddies. They are mortal enemies challenging each other to fight for dominence and for the harem of cows (25 or so of them off to the right of the picture).
   The bull on the right is protecting his herd.  The bull on the left came from a distant hill to challenge the other one, but soon "backed down" and turned to leave.  In the photo below you can see that the dominant bull gave him a surprise charge.
If he doesn't meet the charge head-on he'll be wounded or killed.

Bull elk fighting on Winslow Hill, Benezette, Pa.
The elk on the left met the charge with a resounding clash of antlers, but was soundly defeated.
The defeated elk went off alone
to mope in the grass and rest up.  Maybe he'll try again later.
Must be tough knowing the other bull is king of the mountain.
Not all of the activity is dramatic clashes or echoing bugles.
Some of it is more serene, like this bull elk walking among the goldenrod...

or this cow and calf on a gravel bar along the Sinnemahoning.

 Elk in Pennsylvania's mountains.
Ah yes, and there's music in them thar hills!

 Good day!


  1. Anonymous9/30/2011

    Great pictures!

  2. What an amazing post Dana ! Those elk are wonderful to see.

  3. Anonymous2/24/2013

    i want to make a trip when is the best time of the year???
    live in the Poconos!


    1. Claudette,
      From our experience, the best time to see and hear the elk near Benezette is in late August through early October. I like to go when the weather is cool and the leaves are beginning to turn colors. There is a risk, however, in visiting late in the season that the bugling season has past.