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Friday, September 23, 2016

The Great Elk Tour is on display near Benezette Today through Oct. 2.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Great Elk Tour has come to the Winslow Hill Viewing Area, near Benezette in Elk County, and will be on display through Oct. 2. The tour includes a mount made from one of the largest bull elk on record in Pennsylvania, which was killed illegally by poachers in 2014.

The Great Elk Tour is on display near Benezette through Oct. 2.

Killed unlawfully in a 2014 poaching spree, one of the largest bull elk in Pennsylvania history is making its way back to the state’s elk range as part of a traveling display of exceptional elk.

A mount of the bull known as the “Historic Pennsylvania Poaching Bull” is part of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Great Elk Tour, which arrives today at the Winslow Hill Viewing Area, near Benezette in Elk County.

The Great Elk Tour will remain on display through Sunday, Oct. 2.

The Historic Pennsylvania Poaching Bull was taken alongside two others in a night of poaching by three men in Karthaus Township, Clearfield County in September 2014. Wildlife Conservation Officer Mark Gritzer had been staking out the area where the giant 10- by 9-point bull had been hanging and was quick to intercept the poachers after the shot rang out. The three men each pleaded guilty to their charges, and their sentences included time in jail and fines totaling almost $39,000.

With the case resolved, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has had a mount fashioned from the elk’s cape and antlers. Following completion of this year’s Great Elk Tour, it will be returned to the Game Commission’s ownership.

With a Boone & Crockett gross score of 460 1/8 inches, the Historic Pennsylvania Poaching bull is the largest among those on the tour this year. It’s the largest poached bull in state history, and among the largest ever.

Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said the historic bull is a testament to the quality elk Pennsylvania produces. It exemplifies the reason people are flocking to the state’s elk range to view elk, and why a growing number have submitted applications each year in hopes of hunting them.

“While it’s a shame to lose an animal of this quality to a senseless, unlawful act, from a conservation perspective, this is a case to be proud of,” Hough said. “It shows the dedication of our officers, who often work overnight and into the next morning to catch poachers in the act. It shows the resolve of our justice system to take these cases seriously. And it shows that, through the generosity of partner organizations like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a trophy like this won’t entirely go to waste as it’s put on display for all to see.”

Mark Holyoak, director of communication for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, said the impressive mount provides a unique teaching opportunity.

“Featuring the Pennsylvania bull among the six Great Elk Tour mounts gives us the opportunity to talk about the importance of legal, ethical hunting and its vital link to conservation,” Holyoak said. “We are grateful to our partners at the Pennsylvania Game Commission for their dedication and are excited to bring the tour back to Pennsylvania.”


Anonymous said...

Oh yeah that's great, take one of Pennsylvanias greatest elk and sell it to a rocky mountain state organization.. Typical PA Game Commission move. Do whatever it takes to get more money for salaries.
Why not just keep it right here where it belongs in good old PA for the residents to enjoy?
I'm sure Colorado, Utah, whatever are enjoying all the money OUR elk is making them.
The people who shot this animal should be put in prison for LIFE, I hope their friends and neighbors are shunning them like the plague.
Way to go PA Game Commission. Bunch of bums

J Duttry said...

Your a bone head. I'd rather see the elk be moved around and educate many people then just sitting at the elk center. And technically the game commission can do whatever they please with it since they did buy the elk in the first place. When there is no help from the government and they only have certain resources you have to do what needs to be done to bring more game to the area or take care of the game we have here... I think they do a great job and I think the guys that did this did their time and are still paying fines. They will never hunt again and if caught then that's more penalties for them...

Anonymous said...

Read article again and retain the information before getting all fired up. It WILL be returned to the PAGC ownership. Geez

Anonymous said...

Such a joke, the real elk is in harrisburgh