As February silently slips into our chronological history book for 2011 the wildlife were out in abundance enjoying the break from the harsh winter. The temperatures were very pleasant and the winds were calm to non-existent. What a perfect day for enjoying some good old Pa wildlife. The snow is still deep in the woods but the warmer temperatures and warmer sun has helped to reduce the hard crust that is so devastating for animals.
Every season provides it's own splendor and winter is no different. The beauty is there for those that leave the warmth and protection of their homes.
While we set comfortable and warm within our heated abodes the ominous shadows of winter coexist in nature.
The Ruffed Grouse saw this beautiful day to be an opportunity to sit high in the trees feeding on some tender buds. Although enjoying his feast he was fully aware that he was being watched and was ready to take flight in an instant.
This big bull was looking silly so we snapped his picture.
Hold on, I want to make a funny face when you take my picture!
One minute they're sharing a good joke and the next minute.........
they're locking horns and arguing about some cute cow that the other bull took into it's harem.
And you better not mess with me in the fall!!
Ahh, another successful day of elk hunting in the Benezette area. Just like hunting you need to try to outsmart your prey. In this case we spotted this bull a 1/2 mile away and anticipated his route and his destination. If our hunch was correct we would be hunkered down and waiting for him. As it turned out, our hunch was correct and we were there and got the shot.
Hunting with a camera isn't that different than hunting with a firearm the only difference to us is that the rewards are greater. When I say the rewards are greater I simply mean that after we get our shot the subject or victim walks away so we can hunt them again another day. After we take our shot others can still hunt them and perhaps get the shot that they have have so badly wanted. It's true our hunting doesn't put meat on the table but it does give us something to hang on the wall. And now that we think about it, we rarely go home hungry because of the wonderful eateries in the Benezette area.
I hunted for many years with a firearm and I'm by no means on an anti hunting crusade nor do I look back at my hunting years with shame or regret. It's a great sport and I have many fond memories. I've just changed my weapon of choice.
So I was asking this elk if they got snow this morning. He said, "we just got a dusting".
He's a big fella!