State's elk herd continues to grow, resulting in more tags
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Pennsylvania's elk herd is big and getting bigger.
Chris Rosenberry, head of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's deer and elk section, said the state's elk herd numbered about 500 animals in 2008. A count this winter put the herd at 824 elk, minimum.
The two largest concentrations of animals — both of which are still growing — are located in the Winslow Hill and Pottersdale areas, he said.
Commissioner Dave Putnam of Centre County said the population at the former is starting to worry him a bit.
“The Winslow Hill population seems to be getting to the point where we're going to have to do something, maybe chase some of them out of there,” he said.
There have been no conflicts with elk in that region —home to the popular viewing area — as of yet, Rosenberry said.
There's a lot of habitat on public land there, and that's tended to keep the elk out of trouble, he said.
It's true the commission would like to see the elk herd in general expand eastward, where lots of public land exists, he said.
“But in terms of expectations, we haven't seen a lot of movement yet,” Rosenberry said.
That's a function of habitat, commission executive director Carl Roe said.
It just doesn't exist in sufficient quantities in the northeastern part of the elk range, for example, to entice animals to go there, he said.
The boom in Marcellus shale drilling activity may help change that, though. Roe said open spaces resulting from gas transmission lines could provide habitat and travel corridors when they are seeded.
In the meantime, the commission has no plans to move elk — as it did in the late 1990s in a trap-and-transfer program — because of the risk of transferring ailments such as chronic wasting disease. No such diseases have been found in the state's elk herd, but no one wants to chance it, it seems.
“It's not a matter of being doable. It's a matter of being responsible thing to do for elk management,” Rosenberry said. “It's just not a risk worth taking.”
One benefit of the growing herd is that there will be a few more hunting opportunities this fall.
Last year, the commission offered 56 elk licences, 18 for bulls and 36 for cows. This year, it will offer 65, including 19 bull tags and 46 cow tags.
One “conservation tag” license also will be offered. It was raffled off earlier this year at a Safari Club International banquet.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-838-5148.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Outdoors notebook: Legislation would impact sportsmen
- Impounded portion of Allegheny proving hotspot for muskies
- Frye: Taking aim at DMAP permits
- Fishing report: Trout still plentiful, but other action also beginning
- Outdoor notices: May 25, 2015
- Trout issues highlight management debate for Fish and Boat Commission
- Somerset Lake to house park, dam repairs possible
- Frye: License sales system debate