Friday, November 20, 2015

Thank a Poacher!

A young whitetail buck, hearty, healthy, and bursting with energy was busily engaged in the frantic activity of the rut.  Then his path crossed with that of some poachers.  With a sound somewhat like that of a limb breaking the bow unleashed its deadly dart and a split second later an arrow carrying a broadhead sliced through the upper part of buck's right leg.  Moments later the poachers sped away leaving their damage behind.  Now learning to deal with his disability the buck limps along on three legs and tires easily.  At times he will be seen kneeling to pasture and frequently lying down to rest. 

Will he recover or will he be crippled for the remainder of his life? Only time will tell.     

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Shooting the Rut

November, for the Pennsylvania whitetail enthusiast no other month can compare. November is the month of the whitetail rut.  During the other months of the year the whitetail bucks live their lives in the shadows, staying hidden for the most part while feeding, resting, and just doing what bucks do.  But when the breeding season rolls around suddenly the bucks are on the move, traveling both day and night searching for does, sparring, bluffing, fighting, chasing does, mating with does........does, does, and more does!  Of course its actually all about next year's fawns, but for now the bucks minds centers on just one thing.  Does!

For me, this rut has been like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and all of the holidays rolled into one.  For the first time in my life I have been able to hunt (with camera) the rutting whitetails every day since the first stirrings of the rut became apparent.  Below are a few images from some of the exciting rutting activity I have captured in the past few days.      

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rutting On A Rainy Day

On a recent rainy day I spent nearly the entire day watching a meadow from the protection of an old hunting shack.  The shack's roof leaked a little but it provided adequate protection from the rain that varied from light drizzle to heavy downpours.  Because of the confined space the use of a tripod and the 600mm lens was out of the question.  The images shown here were all taken with a Canon 60d, Canon 100-400mm lens, supported by sandbags.  The highlight of the day came when an eight point buck mated with a doe as another eight pointer watched from a distance.  Equally as interesting was the little buck with an unusual pink nose who posed for a series of photos during a heavy downpour.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

I Did Not See A Thing All Day!

While processing a few images from the last couple of days of attempting to photograph the ongoing whitetail rut I was reminded of my days as a deputy conservation officer.  One would meet successful hunters, happy with the outcome of their day afield and others who were far less than satisfied with their hunt and ofttimes the entire Pennsylvania Game Commissions deer management program.  It was very common for these unhappy individuals to question "Where are all the deer?" The question frequently peppered with a variety of expletives.  Another commonly heard comment, likewise spiced with expletives was " I didn't see a thing all day!  

As I scrolled through some of my latest images I thought about how sad it is that some people can spend a day afield without seeing anything.  While its quite possible to not encounter the particular species that one is seeking, only a person without an appreciation for nature can spend a day in the outdoors without seeing anything.

The images below are from a recent day afield, a day when I was unsuccessful in my quest for rutting whitetails.    

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Bucks, Bees, Butterflies and Blooms

For the wildlife photographers in my neck of the woods November is the month of the whitetail rut.  The unseasonably warm weather of the last few days has slowed the daytime rutting activity but other unexpected photo opportunities have arisen.   I hope you enjoy viewing this mix of subject from the past few days.  

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Rut is on the Way!

As October draws to a close the first stirrings of the whitetail rut is beginning to appear.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

After the Storm

After raining all day yesterday, the sky was broken as dawn crept across the landscape this morning.  Before the sun had the chance to crest the nearby mountain a double rainbow developed in the west perfectly framing a herd of whitetails feeding in the meadow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Meadow Grounds Lake Update

Finally, over two years after the draining of the Meadow Grounds Lake, the wheels of restoration are turning.  After two years of dedicated work the Friends of the Meadow Grounds Lake received some great news at their Monday night meeting.  Michele Jacoby, Director of the Bureau of Engineering for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PAFBC) and Tim Schaeffer, PAFBC Director of Policy and Planning along with representatives from both Senator Eichelberger and Rep. Topper's office were there to deliver the good news.

We were informed that the design engineer had been selected just hours before the meeting and that the final design and engineering costs will be negotiated in the coming months.  As if that news were not enough, Mr. Schaeffer reported that Gov. Wolf's office has committed to releasing the construction funds for not only the Meadow Grounds Lake but for all of the PAFBC high-hazard, unsafe dams contingent upon the passage of a structurally balanced budget both this year and next. 

While there is still a long ways to go before the lake is refilled and open for business, the light at the end of the tunnel has finally appeared!

Rainy day foliage

 Soon the autumn color will be gone, replaced by the browns and grays of winter. Winter's austere landscape is only a short prelude until the fresh new life of Spring arrives in all of its glory!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Autumn on the Water

Today I took the opportunity to spend the morning fishing Raystown Lake in neighboring Huntingdon County.  The crisp air, colorful foliage and blue water made for an unbeatable day!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Great Egret, Chincoteague NWR

Today we'll wrap up this series of bird images from Chincoteague NWR with a few Great Egret images.  The images show here as well as the ones from the two previous post were all taken with yards of each other along a small roadside tidal creek.  While one may mistakenly believe that to capture such images one would need to be hidden away deep in undisturbed territory the fact is that automobiles, bikers, and pedestrians were passing by only yards away. 
I hope you all have enjoyed my birds of Chincoteague NWR and hope to visit there again very soon.