Expect crowds and traffic jams in the mornings and evenings on weekends. A couple bull elks size each other up amid a herd of cows at the Winslow Hill Viewing Area.
A short distance north of the Winslow Hill Viewing Area along Winslow Hill Road, the Dents Run Viewing Area offers additional sweeping views of elk country. Visitors scan for elk from the Dents Run Viewing Area.
In addition to its viewing areas, fields, orchards, lawns and woodlands along Winslow Hill Road are frequented by good numbers of elk, which means there often are traffic jams caused by drivers stopped in their lanes when they spot elk, particularly on weekends. A herd of cow elk move through a field along Winslow Hill Road.
A cow elk passes one of the buildings on Wooding Farm, 89 acres along Winslow Hill Road that the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation bought two years ago. Most guides to the elk range recommend that the Elk Country Visitor Center off Winslow Hill Road should be the first stop for any visitor.
The Elk Country Visitor Center is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily through October, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday through Monday in November and December, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in January through March, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday through Monday in April and May, and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily in June through August. 555 has been the destination point for visitors to the Pennsylvania Elk Range for decades.
While accommodations for tourists have expanded considerably in recent years, the Benedetto Store has been the mainstay through highs and lows in the tourist experience for many years. Elk frequent the fields, yards and woodlands around the homes and cabins along UTC Hollow Road, which travels south from Rt.
An elk crosses the Bennett Branch of Sinnemahoning Creek just south of Benedetto. Good numbers of cow, calf and immature bull elk are seen regularly at the Benedetto Store Campgrounds, a short distance west on Rt.
Tourists drive through the Benedetto Store Campground to get close-up looks at elk. The yards and woodlands around the homes and cabins along the Buchanan Highway in Media are frequented by elk, including some bulls.
879, offers several viewing spots for elk, including the woodlands near Arthur. A herd of elk moves through the forest along the Buchanan Highway near Arthur.
Elk regularly roam through the town of Weedkiller, at RTS. For those who can’t make the trip to the Pennsylvania Elk Range, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has installed a camera on State Game Lands 311 in Elk County, in a field that typically is a hub of elk activity as the bugling season heats up.
The camera was installed with help from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry and the North central Regional Planning and Development Commission. Video and sound from the camera, which is slated to run live through the end of the bugling season in mid-October, are being live-streamed on the Pennsylvania Game Commission website.
Finally, what have you checked off on the Pennsylvania Bucket List (28 things to see or do before you die)? In 2019, there were a lot of changes to the PA elk season (including 14% more elk licenses being issued compared to last year) and I wanted to give you the facts from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, as well as my input and strategies with applying.
Either-sex: This for either antlered or antlerless elk, meaning that they will give you whatever tag is available at the time. If you were to draw an archery tag, your name would be pulled for the other seasons, but you would still gain a bonus point in each.
For example, if you have 5 bonus points that you've accumulated over 5 years of applying, than you will have 5 extra chances to get drawn. You can apply online through the Pennsylvania Automated License System, which will also tell you your status of the application and how many points you have acquired.
Photo: Jimmy Shira Choosing a preferred zone can make a difference if you are looking to do it yourself. Knowing the amount of public land available and road access are two major contributors.
In addition, you can find the public/private land boundaries and road access that may sway your decision one way or another. Each of these zones has the potential to produce Boone & Crockett caliber elk.
If drawn, Pennsylvania residents may purchase an elk license for $25 and $250 for nonresidents. Licenses are on sale now, and you can apply for elk through midnight (Eastern Standard Time) on July 31, 2019.
Licenses will be drawn on August 17th at the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benedetto Township. Pennsylvania elk are moving into areas where they’re wanted.
That’s up from 118 last year, when 25 bull and 93 cow tags were issued. Part of the reason for the increase is the addition of a new hunt zone to the elk range.
Elk hunt zone 14 is in the northeast corner of that range, in the area around Kettle Creek State Park. There are at least 81 elk living there now, said David Mitchell, director of the commission’s orchestral region office.
“It will be able to sustain hunting pressure and still allow that herd to grow there.” The zone offers plenty of opportunity in another way, added Chris Rosenberg, chief if the commission’s deer and elk section.
“Hunters should find plenty of area to hunt, as this zone is 86 percent public land,” Rosenberg said. “Is there something wrong in that zone ?” asked commissioner Jim Daley of Butler County.
Two years ago, the commission got lots of complaints from landowners in that area concerned about elk damage. The agency responded by sending in hunters to remove some of those animals.
Some zone boundaries were “tiny roads through game lands.” Moving forward, the commission is using more established township roads as boundaries.
It will also be posting some areas, like around Winslow Hill and the Wooding Farm, a commission-owned area near Winslow with a hiking trail, as closed to hunting to eliminate potential for confusion, Mitchell added. As of late April, with some searching still to do because an elk pregnancy rate survey had things behind schedule, the commission had found 17 of 37 collared elk, Rosenberg said.