Friday, August 28, 2009

Final Day of The Elk Incident...

Today is the final installment of the Elk incident that occurred in Benezette, Pa. When I ended yesterday's post the last photo I gave a time for was 8:28 a.m., today's first photograph was taken at 8:40 a.m. when the conservation officers moved in to untangle the bull from the swings. After removing the bull from the swing set they used a reciprocating saw to remove the damaged antler at 8:41. In the third photo taken at 8:43 the officers checked the bulls temperature and listened to his heart. If you are wondering who the young lady is in the photo she came with one of the officers so I would assume it is his daughter. She recorded the information while the officers tended to the Elk. The fourth photo was taken at 8:45, if you look closely at the right hand of the officer walking away you can see the tranquilizer dart in it. In photo five taken at 8:49 the officer is giving the bull an injection to bring him out of his induced state of unconsciousness. In the sixth photo taken at 8:52 the officer returned to the swing set to move the remaining swings so the bull would not be caught up in them when he came to. You will note on the photo that the right antler has been removed and an ear tag has been placed on his right ear also. I never gave it a thought at the time to ask the officers what number they gave the bull. In the seventh photo taken at 8:52 the Elk comes around and begins to get up. The officer never had the chance to finish moving all the swings before this happened. And in the last photo also taken at 8:52 the bull stands in the safety of the trees after a long ordeal.

As for the bulls status I did ask some questions and found that when the antler breaks off under the skin without the skin tearing that the closed wound often heals without effecting the animals health. That was great to hear as I thought a fracture in that area would possible mean death. They also confirmed that the right eye was okay and that it was not lost like we previously thought. They did inform us that when they use the drugs on an animal that the next 30 days were important to the health of the animal. Side effects are possible and the Elk could still die from the traumatic experience. They also noted that in coming years the right antler will still grow but that it would probably be non typical and that some day it may grow normal again.

I am sorry but I do not remember the names of the two conservation officers even though I was introduced to the one. I would like to commend them for the job they did that day, without them the outcome would have been different. We did stick around until about 9:30 talking and the Elk remained in the same area. We were very thankful that the outcome was positive and we are looking forward to photographing this Elk more in the future. I hope you enjoyed the article not as entertainment but as a news worthy event. The article was also meant to be educational in photography (like I know what I am doing, LOL), the jobs of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the lessons learned when animals and humans interact and maybe something about Elk themselves.


Sparky said...

I have really enjoy your Elk series. It was something to follow the rescue day to day. You did a great job.

Woody said...

I agree with Sparky, Great job and definatley informitive.

Willard said...

Hi Brad,
I don't know for certain, but I assumed that was WCO McDowell's daughter.

They are all excellent documentary shots. You have done an outstanding job reporting the incident. I am presently working on a small video segment of the incident, but don't know if or when I'll post it.

Michelle Johnson said...

Delighted to hear that the elk is free and is going to be okay. I'm glad the antler breaking beneath the skin wasn't of consequence. Thanks for letting us know how this story ended. Have a great day.

Shane's blog is really nice. He's got some great pictures. I hope he's going to do something with photography as he grows older. He has some great talent in him.

Anonymous said...


Great pics. Nice narrative also.

Keep up the good work.