Guys. It was COLD in Benezette this weekend. 29 degrees for a HIGH on Saturday and snow flurries most of the day. I guess Winter is here.
Saturday was the last day of the elk hunting season. There is one check station where all hunters must take their elk harvests and it was at the Elk Country Visitors Center for the first time this year. That’s just across the street from our rental cabin, for those of you who have not been following along (ask me to tell the story about walking there, it’s a good one). So after breakfast on Saturday the husband and I suited up (29 degrees, remember) in multiple layers and drove over. The check station opened at 10, but there wasn’t much elk activity when we arrived at 10:20.
Warning: This post contains some graphic photos. I’ve saved them for the end. You only get one warning here folks.
There were, however, LOTS of ATVs there for a Central Mountain ATV Association ride. I didn’t know what that meant, but there was a sign and that’s what it said. It was a LOT of fun to pick out my favorite ATV as they came in and lined up. So, I need (yes, need) one of those now. I’ve since reviewed the website of Central Mountain ATV Association and will be joining said, or similar, association, because, seriously, HOW MUCH FUN is riding around (or driving!) in one of those!!! And when there are hundreds of you?!? Exponentially more fun.
I was so distracted by the toys that I missed the first elk being brought into the check station. I had climbed back into the jeep to warm up after taking this photo and saw a big truck with a big bull at the weigh station!
Seriously, last chance. Graphic photos follow. (Nice of me to give another warning huh?)
We waddled up to the weigh station as best we could with two layers of pants, multiple sweatshirts, vests, jackets, hats and gloves and were lucky enough to see the HEAVIEST BULL harvested in the 2018 Elk Season! The scale they hung him from showed the current weight. The PA elk biologist was doing the elk check and explained that you add 30% to that weight to know the live weight. This guy weighed in at 894 pounds!
You can check out all of the results at this website.
I won’t lie, it was a little difficult to stomach at first. The blood was slightly overwhelming. We hung out for a while and got to over hear the end of the story about bringing this bull in. He evidently ran into the water (creek, stream, river, I’m not sure) after he was hit. The guy down stream saw the elk bobbing toward him and didn’t know if he was going in after a dead elk or a live elk. Lucky for him, it was dead. There was also a part of his antlers knocked off. They don’t know if it knocked off in the water, or while they were dragging him out. It was neat to hear the excitement in their voices.
We saw one cow (lady elk) brought in and then headed home for lunch around 12:30. Later in the evening we stopped back in for a few hours but only saw two cows brought in. The game commission team let many spectators watch them work and explained the examination process (a tooth is pulled for aging, tissue and blood samples to check for chronic wasting disease and the uterus of females to check for pregnancy) to us.
The crew with the big bull brought his rack back through that evening too. I’m not sure if it was for official reasons or just to take it on tour. Pretty impressive.
Sunday (Happy Veterans Day!), we watched PBS. I didn’t even go into the cabin once this weekend. The husband took some measurements, which took about a half hour. We had a great time (oh, and I saw some turkey. Thanksgiving is coming, watch out fellas)!