Pennsylvania Elk Herd:
The elk in Pennsylvania are primarily located in Elk, Cameron, Centre, McKean, Potter, Clinton and Clearfield counties with the center of elk activity in Elk county. Elk are originally native to the state of Pennsylvania. Due to over hunting and no solid regulations and encroachment pretty much decimated the herd by the late 1800’s. The current elk herd are descendants from actual Rocky Mt. elk brought here by the Pennsylvania Game Commission between 1913 and 1926.
Pennsylvania Elk Herd Population:
Between 1913 and 1926, the Pa. Game Commision captured 177 Rocky Mt. elk and tranferred and released them in the state. and they now total approximately 800 to 1000. Cows usually give birth to their young in late May or early June. Twins are born less than 1% of the time. The calves carry spots to help with camouflage. In short time the calves and the cows join as a family unit with immature bulls. Young yearling bulls usually only grow spikes their first year of life. Antlers on a mature bull are usually fully developed by August. A bull with 12 points is considered a “royal bull” and a bull with 14 points is considered a an “imperial bull” The mating call or bugling can be heard about September as this usually marks the beginning of mating season. The bull elk usually form harems of 15-20 cows, which are controlled by a single dominant bull. Dominant bulls earn their rank by challenging other bulls. Interesting to note the cows are only receptive or fertile for an 18 hour period, and come into heat in 21 day cycles.
Benezette Elk Viewing:
A great place to view elk is at the Elk County Visitor Center on Wislow Hill in Benezette, Pa. This place sets on 245 acres where you can view the largest elk herd in the north eastern part of the United States. This is an 8,400 sq. ft. eco-friendly building with a beautifull stone fireplace and a panorama of windows overseeing the the elk viewing areas. Elk County visitor Center has a gift shop and several viewing areas. They even offer a horse drawn wagon ride to view the elk!
More Resources for Pa. Elk:
I truly hope you enjoyed this post on Pennsylvania elk. We are truly blessed to have these majestic animals as part of our ecosystem. I would love to hear any and all comments on the Pennsylvania elk herd. Please feel free to leave any comments in the comment box below.