Pennsylvania elk hunters produce largest bull harvest since Civil War

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HARRISBURG, Pa. - The state’s second elk season since 1932 produced the largest bull harvest the state has seen since before the Civil War, according to Pennsylvania Game Commission executive director Vern Ross. The season ran Nov. 18-23.

The 70 licensed hunters – selected in a public drawing from a field of more than 30,000 entrants – took 32 antlered and 29 antlerless elk.

Two elk were taken by hunters using muzzleloaders – one by flintlock, one by in-line – and another was taken with a bow. The remainder was taken with centerfire rifles.

Last year’s first. Last year, the 30 licensed hunters took 14 antlered and 13 antlerless elk in the state’s first modern-day elk hunt.

William Fye, 15, of DuBois, Clearfield County, took the heaviest bull in the hunt, a 9-by-7 bull (antlers with nine points on one side, seven on the other) with an estimated live weight 878 pounds. The bull was taken on the opening day in Cameron County’s Gibson Township.

On the second day of season, Warren Casella, 31, of Apollo in Armstrong County, took a 9-by-8 antlered bull that had an estimated live weight of 785 pounds. It was harvested in Elk County’s Jay Township.

Other antlered elk included an 8-by-7 bull with an estimated live weight of 711 pounds taken in Elk County by Randy Reynolds of Montrose, Susquehanna County; an 8-by-6 bull with an estimated live weight of 772 pounds taken in Cameron County by Dave Dewey of Townville, Crawford County; and a 7-by-7 bull with an estimated live weight of 816 pounds taken in Cameron County by Albert DeShullo of Boothwyn, Delaware County.

Antlerless elk. The top antlerless elk in the hunt was an adult female with an estimated live weight of 566 pounds taken by Steve Higgins of Greenville, Mercer County in Cameron County’s Gibson Township.

Other antlerless elk included an adult female with an estimated live weight of 544 pounds taken by Mike Helman of Chambersburg, Franklin County in Cameron County’s Gibson Township; and an adult female with an estimated live weight of 541 pounds taken by Robert Stahl of Dillsburg, York County, in Elk County’s Benezette Township.

Young hunters. The youngest hunters to take an elk in the one-week season were Clyde Sanner and Justin Pentz, both 13.

Sanner, of Jones Mills, Westmoreland County, harvested a spike bull that had an estimated live weight of 429 pounds in Cameron County’s Gibson Township.

Pentz, of Rockton, Clearfield County, took a spike bull less than two hours before season closed.

“It’s always a pleasure to see successful young hunters, such as Clyde and Justin,” Ross said.

“Such dedication at age 13 is pretty remarkable. I know their parents are proud of them and so am I.”

Nonresidents. All four nonresident hunters participating in this year’s hunt also took elk.

They included Robert Cook of Earlville, N.Y., who took a 7-by-7 bull weighing 693 pounds (live weight); William Coulter of Riverview, Mich., who took a 4-by-4 bull weighing 520 pounds; Edward Russ of Warren, Ohio, who took an adult female weighing 386 pounds (live weight); and Jeffrey Palmer of Marlton, N.J., who took an adult female with a bow and arrow and quartered it to pack it out to the road.

Pennsylvania’s elk herd numbered about 800 prior to the hunt. The harvest will not impact the herd’s continued growth.

“Through the use of elk management units and license allocations, the game commission is reducing elk where they are causing conflicts and allow their population to grow and expand in areas where habitat can accommodate them,” said Cal DuBrock, game commission bureau of wildlife management director.

“We also are directing hunting pressure to places where elk viewing opportunities will not be negatively impacted.”

DuBrock said the game commission is planning for a 2003 elk hunt.

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