Date: Saturday, November 01, 2014
Jane Bryndel tagging a new elk calf with PGC Biologist Jeremy Banfield.
I was up at the crack of dawn to help capture and tag elk calves in Benezette, PA. What a great experience!
I met Jeremy in the Winslow Hill area at 5:15AM. Jeremy Banfield has been the Wildlife Biologist for the Elk Management of the Pennsylvania Game Commission only a year but has vast knowledge of large mammals from his time out west. He is loving the local area with his wife and two little ones.
At 6:00AM we find a cow acting funny and won’t leave the location when we approach. A short search finds a small calf motionless in the tall grass. He doesn’t move or make a sound. I get to hold him while Jerome determines the gender and approximate age. He estimates this calf is only a few days old. The hooves are still soft and the umbilical cord is healing nicely. Any older and he would have ran away with the cow. Next is a ride in the net so we can use a scale to show the little guy weighs 48 pounds. Mama is calmly watching until the calf bleats when I attach the second ear tag. Ouch! She isn’t threatening us but concerned for her young.
The first capture was so easy I expected us to find a ½ dozen more calves that morning! We did find a velvet spike and a 3X3 still growing antlers. Elk antlers can grow as much as an inch a day. The PA Wilds are beautiful this time of year. Another nervous looking cow doesn’t yield a hiding calf. The next cow keeps looking over her shoulder. We never find another calf but I almost step on a new fawn! 2014 new fawn.
So what do elk calves have to do with Pheasants Forever? I won this experience at auction this April during a PF Banquet. We are always looking for new and interesting prizes and experiences to help us raise money for our youth and habitat programs. This was also a great way to continue to improve a awesome relationship between Pheasants Forever of North Central PA and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Thanks Jeremy!