This elk hunting thing in Pennsylvania just might work out.
It’s proving to be a money maker for conservation, that’s for sure. The Pennsylvania Game Commission just awarded 116 elk tags, 95 for cows, 21 for bulls. With entries costing $10 a pop, and 27,592 hunters applying, that brought in $275,920.
The Keystone Elk Country Alliance, meanwhile, raffled off another bull tag, with tickets going for $25 and up. That generated $157,150.
Earlier, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation auctioned off another bull tag. That raised $52,500.
All told, that’s more than $500,000 generated for elk-specific conservation and broader wildlife habitat work.
Not too shabby, that.
“The way people respond to elk is truly amazing,” said Matt Hough, executive director of the Game Commission. “Hunters and nonhunters alike are fascinated with elk and they want to do everything they can to ensure elk thrive in Pennsylvania.”
The herd is doing well. Commission estimates put the number of elk on the landscape at close to 900 this year; that’s up from about 500 in 2008.
There are some really big ones out there, too. The winner of last year’s Elk Country Alliance raffle, Paul Brown of Blandon, took a bull that scored 400 3/8. That makes it one of four 400-class bulls to be taken in the state since 2001.
Who exactly it is that will be chasing Pennsylvania elk this fall isn’t entirely known.
The Elk Foundation has not named the winner of its silent auction. The Elk Country Alliance identified its winner only vaguely, as M. Martino of Walston in Jefferson County.
As for the licenses awarded by the commission, those who attend the elk license drawings can see the names of the hunters chosen. But the commission is prohibited by law from releasing them to the public afterward.
It did provide a list of the hometowns of the lucky hunters. It shows two hail from New York, and one each from Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Connecticut and Florida.
The remainder are Pennsylvania residents. Quite a few are from western Pennsylvania.
One hunter was drawn from each of the towns of Pittsburgh and Leetsdale in Allegheny County; Apollo, Kittanning and Parker in Armstrong; Fenelton and Zelionople in Butler; Ebensburg, Ferndale and Cresson in Cambria; Leeper in Clarion; Clearfield, Luthersburg, Irvona and Frenchville in Clearfield; Titusville in Crawford; Connellsville in Fayette; Endeavor in Forest; Shelocta and Smicksburg in Indiana; Brockway in Jefferson; Pulaski in Lawrence; Hazelhurst in McKean; Jennerstown, Berlin and Windber in Somerset; Oil City in Venango; Russell in Warren; Coal Center and Lawrence in Washington; and Ruffsdale, Irwin, Hutchinson, Lowber and Greensburg in Westmoreland;
Three hunters were drawn from Erie and one from Wattsburg in Erie County; three from Weedville and two from St. Marys in Elk; two from Woodbury and one from Riddlesburg in Bedford; and two from Driftwood in Cameron County.
Paul brown took this massive bull elk in 2014 in Pennsylvania. The hunters who will be trying to better that this year have been selected.