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So I have contacted the PGC about the elk management plan that is currently on there website. It covers 2009-2016, I was told they are working a new one. This was last year. I'm very curious to see what is in store for our elk herd. I would love to know if there are planned expansions, or where the herd size will be going. I'd love to see increased opportunities via increased herd size and expansion into to new areas, but I realize what kind of an uphill battle that is... curious if any one has any insight on this?
 

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I heard the elk biologist talk at the elk expo, either last year or the year before. He didn't mention any major changes. He did say that any expansion of the herd would be to the East.
 

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They're going to try to keep them from expanding south of 80 toward CWD land and more farmer conflicts. There is a lot of great habitat for them between 53 and 219 so I am curious to see how they'll try to steer them eastward to accomplish that.
 

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Seeing as they are a non native , invasive species, the plan should be to eradicate them. Like starlings and English sparrows. Like introducing European carp to North American watersheds , someday this experiment will be regretted.
 

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Actually, they are a native species. They were present here and in much of North America years ago and were wiped out by hunters. They were "reintroduced" in PA in the early 1900's I believe by transplanting Rocky Mountain Elk and since then the herd has been a success story. The elk are less of an invasive as you are.
 

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Seeing as they are a non native , invasive species, the plan should be to eradicate them. Like starlings and English sparrows. Like introducing European carp to North American watersheds , someday this experiment will be regretted.
Elk are not an invasive species. The subspecies we have now are not the same as the eastern elk that were killed off back in the 1800's, so what the elk in Pa. could be called is exotic , & that may be a stretcth. An invasive species comes in & takes over to the detrement of native species as the starling & English sparrows have done to native sparrows & other birds.
 

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The game commission shot a healthy bull that wandered into a cwd zone around DuBois last year. They didn't want it to wander back into the elk herd during the rut in fear of it spreading the disease if it in fact did contract cwd. I do not believe an expansion is plausible due to cwd, farming conflicts and highway conflicts. Leave it be.
 

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Seeing as they are a non native , invasive species, the plan should be to eradicate them. Like starlings and English sparrows. Like introducing European carp to North American watersheds , someday this experiment will be regretted.
Wow... We wiped them out of North America, and put them back. Invasive is the spotted lantern fly, not Pa Elk.
 

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I heard the elk biologist talk at the elk expo, either last year or the year before. He didn't mention any major changes. He did say that any expansion of the herd would be to the East.
The elk have already expanded pretty far to the east of Benezette.

They are pretty common in Moshannon State Forest. I have seen them near Karthaus and between Pottersdale and Keating, and along Wykoff Road.

They are also in northern Centre Country, in SGL 100 and nearby.

They are also in the lower parts of the First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek drainage.

And in the lower parts of the Kettle Creek drainage. Up at least as far as where Route 144 crosses the bridge as you drive north from Renovo.

That is the furthest east I've heard of them. Has anyone heard of them being further east than that?
 

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I've heard of limited elk sightings in the western extreme of the Pine Creek watershed. That's a bit further east than Kettle Cr.
 

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Years ago there was a big bull found dead on a ridge behind Carter camp in potter county. A tree fell during a storm and killed it. They used to have a picture of it in that little store. That is 8 miles from Cherry Springs on 44. I also seen a female elk about 10 years ago between Cherry Springs and Coundersport along 44 on a pipeline near Billy Lewis Road
 

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The elk are less of an invasive as you are.

Yup. We are the worst invasive spices by far. Every where we go we bring a chain saw and a bull dozer and build a road, cut down whatever might be growing, or spray poison on it to kill it and whatever else had the bad luck to be there then we put in a parking lot and build a dollar general.

We waste resources like they are infinite and take up ten times the space we need. Most of the environmentally sound practices we do have are because what we used to do was so bad even we realized something was wrong. And that's saying something.
 

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Interesting. I get up to the Pine Creek drainage pretty often and will keep an eye out.
If you head up Trout Run (which dumps into Pine Cr. at Cammal) to the headwaters you will of course end up at a mountain top. Heading W/NW down the other side will bring you down into Young Womens Cr. Drainage. During the days of the famed hunter hunter Philip Tome (~1800) this area was a noted elk crossing and heavily hunted by Tome.
 

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The elk have already expanded pretty far to the east of Benezette.

They are pretty common in Moshannon State Forest. I have seen them near Karthaus and between Pottersdale and Keating, and along Wykoff Road.

They are also in northern Centre Country, in SGL 100 and nearby.

They are also in the lower parts of the First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek drainage.

And in the lower parts of the Kettle Creek drainage. Up at least as far as where Route 144 crosses the bridge as you drive north from Renovo.

That is the furthest east I've heard of them. Has anyone heard of them being further east than that?
Just to give context, the elk biologist was asked if they would expand into the ANF one day. His answer was "No", and that any future expansion would most likely be to the east of the current range.

Around Renovo is the further east that I have seen.
 

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A little semi-recent Pennsylvania elk history.

Through the late seventies and early eighties the elk population was limited to just a few remaining animals in Elk and Cameron Counties. Their numbers were not growing due primarily to the number being legally shot each year for crop damage.

During the late eighties and early nineties the Game Commission worked extensively with the local farmers to get some of the major farms in the elk range fenced with elk deterrent fencing. That made a tremendous difference in the ability of the elk population to start growing. Elk were finally expanding in numbers at a pretty significant rate.

By the mid nineties the elk numbers had expanded to where the traditional elk range was filled with about as many elk as the elk would allow and we started seeing more and more elk moving out of the traditional elk range. Often those elk moving out of the traditional range were moving into other high agriculture areas and falling victim to being shot for crop damage. At that point is was obvious that something needed to be done to either control the elk population, within the elk range, to level acceptable to the elk or expand the elk range. But, before expanding the elk range we needed more elk habitat.

To determine what areas of the state had suitable elk habitat the Game Commission charged Penn State University with the task of determining what type of habitat the elk currently used and then applying that model to the entire state to see what other areas had suitable elk habitat. Penn State came back with a map that showed the few areas of the state with habitat that was similar to what the elk were using in the traditional habitat. The only area that was suitable and had a large amount of public land was in Clinton County.

The Game Commission spent many months meeting with the public of Clinton County working on not only getting some elk release located but getting public support for a trap and transfer program to move elk to Clinton County.

Starting in the late nineties we spent a couple winters trapping and moving elk to a couple soft release sites in Clinton County. The whole process of trap and transfer and soft release was a huge success. But the public acceptance of the elk was not so much as success. A pretty high number of the relocated elk were killed by a small group of gardeners, who claimed to be and lightly qualified as farmers, soon killed a number of the related elk. At that point it was pretty obvious that even though there might a few areas of the state with suitable habitat the elk were not publicly acceptable in area outside the traditional range.

Many of the elk moved to one of the release sites did adapt to the area and establish an eastern elk range herd though. Those are the elk that now exist in parts of Clinton, Potter, Centre and Clearfield Counties. The Game Commission also worked extensively on habitat partnerships with other government agencies and larger private land owners. A lot of great elk habitat has been created in this new extended elk range. That is resulting in an expanding elk herd.

But, the other thing that became obvious was that we needed a hunt to elk in the traditional range and some parts of the expanded range to keep the elk herd within population limits that were acceptable to the elk that lived there.

It has been a great success story and I am proud to have been a part of it.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Indeed something to be proud of while you were serving us sportsmen! Thanks for sharing Dick! :thumbs:
 

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There was a bull that ventured up into Potter County a few years ago and stuck around for awhile. He was quite the tourist attraction. He'd lay out in a field and bugle his fool head off.
I'm not sure what ever became of him. He was alone, so I don't know if he ventured back down into the traditional range or if he was killed.

When I worked with the elk the bulls would venture all over looking for cows. Generally though they never went too far out of the traditional areas.
Cows on the other hand during calving season would go wild looking for a quiet place to calve. Wharton, Kettle Creek, Keating summit, Even Clermont.
They were even known to go towards Kersey. They never last long there. The farmers didn't really care for them.
 
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