Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 3, The Elk Rescue Continues...

I hope no one is getting bored with the series of photographs and videos on the Elk rescue but as you can see I have many images I wanted to share and the story is rather long to tell it all. Besides if I have any of you hooked then you need to keep coming back each day to find out what happens next, LOL.

Today I thought I would give you a more over all view of the area, in the first photo Shane (if you missed it yesterday, Shane started his blog back up with photos and videos of the incident, he will post every Tuesday and Thursday) takes a break from shooting as Willard (in the background) records some stills of the incident. As you can see we made camp right on the hood of my truck, coffee, breakfast and the memory card case open and ready. The next two photographs are Willard and Shane recording the action. In the fourth photo taken around 7:30 the conservation officer has returned and blocked off the street with his truck, you can also see some of the other vehicles and people that came to the area to watch and photograph the events unfolding. All four were taken with the Nikon D70, I had not used this camera for over a year since I gave it to Shane to use and learn photography. On this trip I gave him my back up camera the D90 along with the 80-400 VR to use photographing wildlife. For the first time ever using it he did pretty good. All of these were shot at ISO 500 with shutter speeds ranging from 1/50 to 1/320.

In the fifth photo you can see a close up of how the chains and seats became tangled in the Elk's antlers. This photo was taken at 8:04:30, note the condition of the antlers because at this time he was trying feverishly to get free when things went south for him causing my heart to sink. The last photograph was taken at 8:05:46, you will notice that the antler on his left side has broken off. At this point I became even more worried for the well being of the bull when I realized the antler itself did not break but that is broke under the hide in the skull area. I related the fracture to a fractured skull on a person and felt at this time that the bull was destined to be put down. Thankfully that was not the end result. The last two photos were taken at ISO 640, the first at 1/250, f4, 315 mm, the last at 1/400, f4.5 at 292 mm.

Unfortunately like some blogs I can't mix my comments in between my photos, for some reason if I do not post my photos first followed by the comments the images will not get any larger when you click on them.

While photographing a herd of cows, calves and yearlings the night before Shane and I had the opportunity to meet Bob Shank and his son James from the Pocono area of Pennsylvania. They have a cabin in the area and also like to photograph wildlife. Both showed up at the incident a little later and also captured images, their sites can be found by clicking their names in this post, please stop by them and see their perspective of what took place. I also hope everyone stops back tomorrow for the fourth installment of the Elk rescue.


Rocky Mountain Retreat said...

Just catching up on this story here and your photos are remarkable but gee, it hurts to read what this beautiful animal had to go through!
I often see herds of Elk roaming around our fields here and to think about one going through as this one did just breaks my heart. I am glad he survived but to think of the consequences of what the broken horn will do to his skull for the future of his life, is sad. He will live a difficult life, I am sure. Again, amazing captures, Brad.


Woody said...

Great Photos Brad. I hope it turns out well...

Haney said...

I guess you're gonna make us wait til Friday to find out how this ended up. We used to take the kids to this playground when we were camping.(Like the new header)

Brad Myers said...

Haney, yes I am just like listening to the radio programs of years ago or watching your soap operas the story will not end until Friday. All post are uploaded and ready trying to tell all aspects of the story.

Did your kids ever get stuck in the swings?

Glad you like the new header after two years of the same thing I got bored and needed a change.

Willard said...

Brad I am really enjoying your series on the rescue. I left a follow up remark to your comment on my post today and will put it here too, in case you don't return to the comment section on that post.

"I agree with you completely, Brad. I would rather it had not happened, but since it did, I would not have wanted to miss documenting it. The incident is highly informative to the public and definitely should be reported and discussed."

Also it was very interesting and did not distress me until as you mention things "went south" for him and it was obvious he was injured and for a time it seemed that an eye might be missing. At that point I felt very bad for the animal.

Elklady said...

Would you please send me your email address. I have a question for you -- off blog.
It's all good!

Michelle Johnson said...

I shudder at the thought of this elk's antler breaking near the skull. I hope he gets medical help before released back into the wild- that's if any can be administered. Looking forward to a happy ending. Hope all is well.

Anonymous said...

Loving the blog Brad!


Elklady said...

I write an bi-weekly elk column for Endeavor News, a weekly newspaper out of Emporium, PA. I am covering the story of the elk rescue in my column for this week's paper which will print on Sat Aug. 29th.

In my column I referred readers to your and your son's blogs, as well as Bob Shank's blog to see the photos and read the eyewitness accounts. I also included a couple of quotes from your blog, acknowledging the source.

I just wanted to let you know that I promoted your blog, and said this about your son Shane's blog: "A compelling 16–second video of the elk in distress is on his son Shane’s blog at "

That particular video segment is gripping, because it shows when the antler broke away from the pedicle or base and was left dangling in a "sock" of skin from the skull where it meets the base of the antler.

It's like uprooting a rootbound plant from a flowerpot. The pedicle of the antler is shaped like a cup or socket -- it's like a flower pot.

The comments in the background of the video say it all -- and the click, click, clicking of camera shutters in the background speak volumes about the intensity of that moment.

But don't loose hope for this bull to regrow a normal right antler sometime in the future. In my column, I tell about a young bull elk that sustained a similar injury years ago. For 3 years following, he grew a distorted left antler that resembled a club and hence was nicknamed Clubhorn or Club. Then, he grew an upright antler and became the dominant herd bull on Winslow Hill for the next 2 ruts.

Many thanks to both you and Shane for posting the compelling story of the bull elk rescue in Benezette last week and for capturing it in photographs.

Carol Mulvihill

Brad Myers said...

Carol, I have sent you a message at an address I found at Elk watching in Pennsylvania. I hope the address is still good. If not and you get back on I will need a place to send you a message.

Thank you for linking us and giving us credit, I would have rather photographed the elk in a different setting but once there I felt complelled to record the events as they unfolded.


Coy said...

Excellent series Brad!

Too bad but these things do happen but at least in this case you did get help and the outcome is far better than it would have been if the bull had not been discovered early.