Situated in the central region of Pennsylvania is the one elk herd that has been introduced, lived and proliferated east of the Mississippi River. The herd began with just a few animals and has been carefully documented and worked with by Pennsylvania Game Commission officers to produce what is a herd of healthy hearty animals that are a delight to view and magnificent to photograph.
Elk County Pennsylvania, famous for, guess what, elk, is a place to view them and so much more.
Rampant with wildlife and among the most beautiful and photogenic areas in the world, autumn hiking there brings with it challenges and rewards. The steep hills, rough terrain and many privately owned areas bring challenges to the hiker, however if you are careful and avoid the lands that are private, there are plenty of places where you will be able to hike into the densely forested areas, and view the elk on their own turf.
Granted the hike is not for the novice. Thick underbrush and heavy woodlands make it a challenge, and when the addition of the steep grades and mountain foothills is included, it is a challenging walk, but you will find it well worth your time.
The scenery, deep golds and reds interspersed with the oak leaf brown and the bright greens of the evergreen trees is more than spectacular. Add to that the bugling of the male elk in rut, and the sight of the black bear who wander in and out and you’ve found a small scene might be out of several hundred years ago.
Unspoiled is the word that springs to mind.
For those who are a bit less ready to expend vast exercise, Winslow Hill, accessible from the winding dirt roads, offers you an access to the elk from the vehicle and pull off areas along the road to stop and photograph or simply view the elk.
Benezette Township, from which you access Winslow Hill, the prime viewing area for the elk herd, is warm and welcoming and provides one old style cafe restaurant where you can find hot coffee and cocoa, as well as a breakfast when your viewing is completed.
Your best bet will be to arrive in Elk County well before sunrise, in order to find not only a good viewing area, but to not miss the elk as they arrive in the fields for their morning feed.
Yearly drawings for the chance to hunt the elk, to cull the herds take place with several lucky hunters being able to take both antlered and antlerless elk in Pennsylvania.
My own personal experience with the elk herds was viewing them, photographing them and being able to move to within just a few car lengths away, and it was both exhilerating and exciting for me to get the chance to see these gigantic animals close up.
Benezette township, near Winslow hill is the best area to view the elk, and if you are interested in spendinga few days watching, documenting or viewing the other wildlife in the area which is more than prolific, there are cabin rentals in the area that will place in you in a rustic cabin setting, with the basic amenities, but be within a stones throw of Benezette to afford you the chance to be there early or late, as you desire.
Contrary to popular belief, the elk are not always bedded down at night, but in many cases are wandering and photo opportunities exist at night as well as during the day.
Pennsylvania’s elk herd, as well as the other wildlife there, including pheasant, black bear and coyote, coupled with the huge bull elk bugling each morning and evening, make this trip well worth your time to take.
To find directions to Elk County and arrange for a cabin to stay in, pay a visit to Pennsylvania Cabin Rentals