Cow elk normally give birth to a single calf in late May or early June. The calves are speckled with spots to complete their natural camouflage. Twins are a rare occurrence and happen less than one percent of the time. Normal gestation period is approximately 8 1/2 months. After a short amount of time, the cows and their new calves rejoin their family units comprised of cows, their calves and immature yearlings. Most yearling bulls will only grow spike antlers.
The mature bull's antlers are fully grown by August and they now spend much of their time thrashing trees and shrubs with their antlers. Normal antler growth is up to 6 tines per side. A "royal" bull is one with a total of 12 points. An "imperial" bull has 14 points. September and October mark the mating season for the elk. While the beginning of the rut may vary somewhat from year to year, the unmistakable invitation of bugle of a bull elk can be heard echoing throughout the range. Bugling can be heard primarily during the rut or mating season. It starts as a low bellow and continues as a squealing or whistle. This is followed by several grunts.
The elk form harems of 15 to 20 cows, which are controlled by a mature bull. The bull has earned his status to lead his harem by fighting off lesser bulls for the opportunity to breed with these cows. Lesser bulls often mate also, the large bull will contain the group and be the prime breeder. These harems remain together for the duration of the breeding season. Cow elk are receptive to breeding for only about an 18-hour period. If they are not bred successfully, they will have two or three breeding cycles at 21-day intervals.
The elk remain in large groups throughout the winter months. They must dig through the snow to find grass, twigs and buds. They will eat the bark off trees and drink from the streams to sustain for the winter. The bulls loose their antlers in the late winter or early spring.
Pennsylvania's elk range covers approximately 835 square miles in parts of Elk, Cameron, Clearfield, Clinton and Potter counties.
Opened in September 2010, the Elk Country Visitor Center sits on 245 acres on Winslow Hill in Benezette. The area is home to the largest elk herd in the northeastern United States. The 8,400 square foot eco-friendly building has a stone fireplace to greet visitors and a panorama of windows looking out on the elk viewing areas. It also features a 4-D theater presenting a multimedia experience that will immerse you in the sights, sounds and smells of a mixed hardwood forest and the natural world of the elk. There is also a gift shop, observation areas and viewing blinds.
Seeing an elk for the first time is an extraordinary experience and something you will never forget!
Beaver Run Wildlife Viewing Area(814) 765-0821 | http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quehanna_Wild_Area
Quehanna Hwy., Penfield, PA 15849
Beaver Run offers excellent viewing at a shallow water impoundment with a field that provides high-quality forage for elk in the Moshannon State Forest. This site offers wildlife viewing during the... more info
Bucktail State Park Natural Area(814) 486-3365 | http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/bucktail/
PA Route 120 from Lock Haven to Emporium, Emporium, PA 15834
This 16,433-acre natural area is actually a 75-mile scenic drive. The park provides a beautiful scenic drive along PA 120 from Emporium, through Renovo to Lock Haven. All along the road are... more info
Elk Country Visitor Center(814) 787-5167 | http://www.elkcountryvisitorcenter.com
134 Homestead Drive, Benezette, PA 15821
Premiere elk viewing facility and conservation education with 4D theater, exhibits, gift shop and more.Operated by the Keystone Elk Country Alliance.Use 950 Winslow Hill Rd. Benezette in your GPS more info
Elk County Elk Farm Bed & Breakfast(814) 772-6810 | elkcountyelkfarm.com
27821 Lake City Rd., Ridgway, PA 15853
Elk County’s only working domestic elk farm. Spring newborn calves & bulls in velvet, hear bugling in fall. Stay in our 1800s remodeled barn. Private baths. more info
Elk Scenic Drivehttp://www.visitpago.com/fileadmin/Great_Outdoors/Pdfs/ElkScenicDriveMap2004.pdf
just off I-80, Benezette, PA 15821
127-mile route through the region, with distinctive signage. Twenty-three viewing sites along the Elk Scenic Drive are being established to promote safe and easy visitation and distribute travelers... more info
Elk State Forest(814) 486-3353 | http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/stateforests/elk/
258 Sizerville Rd., Emporium, PA 15834
Located principally in Elk and Cameron counties, Elk State Forest, comprised of 200,000 acres, is open to primitive camping, licensed hunting and fishing, and offers opportunities for hiking,... more info
Hicks Run Viewing Area(814) 486-3353 | http://pittsburgh.about.com/cs/pennsylvania/a/elk.htm
Route 555, Driftwood, PA 15832
This stop along scenic Route 555 may provide a glimpse of elk or grassland bird species. A covered, handicap accessible viewing blind provides an exceptional viewing experience to watch the elk... more info
Porcupine Run Viewing Areanear the intersection of Winslow Hill Road and Dewey Road, Benezette, PA 15821
Porcupine Run Viewing Area provides an additional location to see elk. It provides off-road parking, but no other facilities. It is located near the intersection of Winslow Hill Road and Dewey Road.... more info
Quehanna Wild Areadcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/oldgrowth/quehanna.aspx
Quehanna Highway, Medix Run, PA 15821
Nearly 50,000 acres, the Quehanna Wild Area covers parts of Cameron, Clearfield and Elk counties. This protected wildlife area has been named an Important Bird Area by the Pennsylvania Audubon... more info
Winslow Hill Elk Viewing Area(717) 787-4250 | paelk.com/a-trip-up-to-the-elk-viewing-areas-on-winslow-hill-part-1-03082009
Winslow Hill Road, Benezette, Pa 15821
The most popular elk-viewing site in Pennsylvania, Winslow Hill provides two viewing areas with off-road parking. Listen for the famous bugling of the male elk during August-October, as the elk are... more info
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