Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 18

Jacob Dingel

through winter. They're still hungry, and
typically forage daily, usually at dawn and
dusk, but their activity patterns decrease in
winter, as does their daily intake of food. "
The ideal winter setup for elk, and
consequently an elk hunter, is finding a
food source close to cover. It helps elk
conserve energy in the pursuit of food and
replenish energy used, while providing
cover to protect them from the elements,
which can sap energy. For hunters, the
arrangement helps minimize their pursuit
afield and usually compels elk to move
more willingly, given the close proximity
of food and cover.
" Cover is certainly important, " emphasized Banfield, " especially in deep snows
and cold temperatures. Their preferred
cover is dense conifer stands with lowhanging branches. "
Banfield recommends January elk
hunters key on areas with open herbaceous fields, or where timber cutting
occurred nearby. If conifer stands are
in the vicinity, it'll increase the area's
potential. Usually, such arrangements are
18

found on state game lands and state forests, but Banfield stressed the importance
of seeking permission to hunt on private
properties with some of these features.
" Generally, it's not hard to get access
to private land, but it does take extra time
and planning, " Banfield said. " In EHZ 2,
where there are 10 January-season hunters, it might be a bigger advantage than
in other EHZs with one to four hunters,
but why not take every step you can to
improve your chances to take an elk? "

HUNTING IN WINTER
Although a tracking snow can help
hunters walk up on elk when they're hard
to find, and snow generally helps you see
elk at greater distances, Banfield stressed
the importance of hunting where elk are
in a short season.
" Elk are not spread across the landscape the way deer are, " Banfield emphasized. " They occur in smaller, isolated
pockets, in small groups that usually
move less in winter than at any other time.
You must locate those groups as close to



Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021

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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - Contents
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - Cover4
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