The best, and safest ways to view the elk during rutting season

Local News

ELK COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – Each year during the months of September and October tourists flood the area to witness the elk mating season. During these months, elk can be found in fields and on streets all across Central Pa.

At the Elk Country Visitor Center, they are expected to have about 200,000 people come to visit the center during the rutting season in hopes of catching the male bulls in action, as they will vie for the female’s attention. Oftentimes, the male elk will fight one another for breeding rights.

“They’re doing a lot of talking to each other,” Ben Porkolab said, a conservation education coordinator at the Elk Country Visitor Center. “The bulls are going to be bugling to each other to challenge one another and then also to attract the females called cows.”

“It’s not uncommon to see a large group of females together, usually with one mature bull,” he added.

The Elk country visitor center is home to 255 acres of land which the elk graze. They have several viewing areas which overlook fields and food plots that the elk enjoy feeding on. While the visitor’s center is a great spot to go to see the elk, a biologist from the Pennsylvania Game Commission says there are plenty of hot spots across the area.

“The Benezette area. That’s where we have the elk visitor center there on Winslow Hill. There are also several public viewing areas there on Winslow Hill Road,” said Mark Ternent, the northcentral region biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Seeing the elk up close is a fascinating sight, but Ternent added that it’s vital to follow important safety measures while viewing, to ensure your own safety, as well as others.

“Oftentimes you’ll see them roadside, and the first thing you want to do is get out of the car and try to get a picture of them,” Ternent said, but he urges you not to as the male bulls are more aggressive during this time of year. “Bulls particularly can be defensive of the cows. This is a breeding season and they are trying to keep cows away from other male elk.”

If you plan on heading out to view the elk, Porkolab recommends doing so early in the morning, during the first hour of daylight, or during the last hour of daylight. You are most likely to catch elk out and about during those times of the day, as the cooler and more moist temperatures are more comfortable for them.

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