Many options await the lucky winners of Pennsylvania elk tags
For the 187 hunters who won a rare Pennsylvania Elk Medal this year, there is a lot to consider before their hunt.
With around 100,000 people applying for licenses, this is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The bulls are growing in number and animals the size of a trophy roam the wild herd. The record No. 1 bull harvested in Pennsylvania was just shot in 2020 by Duane Kramer of Bellingham, Washington. The massive rack measures a total of 455 inches. The previous record was taken in 2011 and marks 442-6 / 8 inches.
Jeremy Banfield, elk biologist for the Game Commission, said if you get a tag the first decision you need to make is hire a guide.
“There is a deeply rooted myth that you have to have a guide. You don’t, ”he said. About 90% of male elk hunters and about 60% of female elk hunters have hired guides in recent years. “It’s a personal decision,” he said.
Plan your visit:Planning a trip to see elk in Pennsylvania? Here’s what you need to know
If you have the time to research a location, you may be able to have a do-it-yourself hunting adventure.
However, most people who draw tags opt for a guidebook, which can cost anywhere from $ 1,500 to $ 2,500 depending on the level of services, meals, and accommodations you require. “It takes some of the logistics away from the hunter,” he said.
Big participation:Pa. Game Commission receives record number of swing requests
If you plan to go alone, he said, scouting with Google Earth maps and spending time in the area where you plan to hunt are the best options for determining where the elk will be when you hunt. . There are approximately 1,400 to 1,500 wild elk in north central Pennsylvania.
Moose hunts are not easy. “Too many people take the Benezette brush out of the whole population,” he said, explaining that around Benezette it is common to see elk who have become comfortable with humans standing along the roads.
However, in areas where hunting is permitted, elk are wilder and less easy to find. “People who don’t prepare properly will fail,” he said of sportsmen who think it’s easy to take a Pennsylvania elk.
An athlete who drew a bull tag last year said it was a “wonderful experience”. Ben Porkolab of St. Marys works as the Conservation Education Coordinator at the Elk Country Visitors Center. He said elk hunts in Pennsylvania are what every hunter wants to do. Those who want a more involved pursuit can take a three kilometer hike through the woods.
Ready for fall? “Synchronized Symphony of Colors” expected this fall in Pennsylvania
Living in the area, he chose not to be guided. He spent the next seven weeks after his name was drawn exploring different areas, trying to shape elk litter and feeding habits, and asking landowners for permission to hunt on their properties. “To me, the more you invest in it, the more you get out of it,” he said of his hunting adventures over the years.
If you don’t have the time to do your own scouting or are not part of the elk range, he said it probably made sense to hire a guide. He explained that the guides are able to do the scouting work, have access to some private land, and have the ability to take large animals out of the woods. “It becomes their challenge, not yours,” he said of finding people to move the elk.
Porkolab’s crop was a 6×6 bull that had 340 inches of antler and an estimated live weight of 787 pounds, making him the heaviest bull ever harvested in 2020. He slaughtered the animal himself and put it down. harvested 360 pounds of meat. “It’s delicious,” he said.
The Country Butcher in Woodland is known for processing elk in Pennsylvania. A mature bull undergoing transformation will cost the hunter around $ 375 depending on the animal’s weight. The charge is 55 cents per pound once the skin is removed.
Another mystery:No new cases of songbird disease reported in Pennsylvania, but cause still unknown
He said it’s a rare opportunity to take a bull in Pennsylvania. For example, this year there are 187 tags in total, but only 56 of these are for wood bulls. “It was a wonderful experience,” he said of getting a bull and the hunt itself.
While visitors to the area saw wild elk along the roads near the Elk Country Visitor Center, Porkolab said hunting them “is not as easy as people think.”
Following:Experience the convenience and comfort of saddle hunting in Pennsylvania
Tags are assigned to areas away from elk who have become comfortable with tourists, and elk move around depending on available food sources.
The state keeps track of the elk harvested each year through the use of checkpoints. At the start of the archery season, which is underway, hunters take their elk to the Game Commission office in Winslow Hill.
Deer hunting:CWD detected in Warren County. Here’s how it will impact deer hunting.
During the busiest rifle season in November, a public checkpoint is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Keystone Elk Country Visitors Center. At the checkpoint, the animals are checked for various diseases.
The three seasons are from September 11 to 25 for archery, from November 1 to 6 for the general season and from January 1 to 8 for the end of the hunting season.
For more details on elk hunting, visit the Game Commission webpage at www.pgc.pa.gov and search for elk.
Brian Whipkey is the outside columnist for the USA Today Network sites in Pennsylvania. Contact him at [email protected] and sign up for our weekly Outdoors newsletter on your website homepage under your login name.