Pennsylvania Game News - July 2017 - 4
"There are large bulls in every hunt
zone, but knowing where they'll be during
our short hunt is always the big question,"
Banfield said. "Even when the habitat
appears to be ideal, there are times when
they will just disappear for weeks and then
Pennsylvania's elk herd has a ratio of
about 33 bulls for each 100 cows, Banfield said.
That presents prime opportunity for
anyone with a bull tag.
In heavily hunted populations, there are
about 10 bulls for every 100 cows, while
in unhunted populations the rate is closer
to 50 bulls to 100 cows. Limited harvest
and high survival help to sustain the Commonwealth's bull-cow ratio.
About 65 percent of hunters drawn
for licenses in 2016 hired a guide, and 90
percent of those hunters were successful.
Those who went unguided were successful in taking an elk 79 percent of the time.
Keeping track of bulls, even cows, up
to the start of the season takes commitment, which is why Banfield emphasizes
that hunters who plan to go it alone must
familiarize themselves with the area and
elk movements, which can change suddenly, sometimes for no apparent reason.
"You should not arrive the night before
opening day and expect to be successful,"
Banfield cautioned. "It takes planning and
prep, and you have only six days to make
Hunters unable to invest time scouting usually go the guide route. Outfitters
usually offer package deals, where they
provide lodging, food, guide service and
retrieve your elk from the field.