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Viewing Pennsylvania’s elk should be on everyone’s bucket list

IMG 4440Photo courtesy of Tom Shank -- An elk struggles in cable.

To witness a mature bull elk during the mating season is a remarkable sight.

Weighing between 600 and 1,000 pounds and carrying a set of antlers several feet in width, a bull elk is one massive animal. Hunters and non-hunters are amazed at these animals as they bugle their heads off in a mating ritual that can be heard for miles.

Cow elk make sounds too, but not as loud or intimidating as a bull elk.

Sometimes bull elk will fight another bull for dominance which results in pushing and shoving, as the dominant bull who is the victor, can claim the cows and be the “king” of the harem. I recently witnessed all of the above in the area of Benezette, Pennsylvania.

Fortunately for all of us, watching elk in their nature habitat can be seen in the north central region of our state. The counties of Cameron, Potter, Clearfield, Elk and Clinton contain the largest population of elk east of the Mississippi River.

Each year a very limited lottery of licenses are given out to hunters to remove some elk and to keep the herd at manageable levels. I never have been successful in this lottery, but that doesn’t deter me for visiting elk country and to carry the camera instead of a gun.

My cabin is located about an hour from the little village of Benezette. This small village is located along Route 555 in Elk County. A beautiful elk visitors center is found at 950 Winslow Hill Road, Benezette. This is a recommended stop for all folks attempting to see elk.

The entire area is maintained for elk and easy access is made to walk to specific viewing spots. Keep on the walking trails that lead to open fields and you would be amazed at what you might see. Elk from the largest bulls to cows and calves can be viewed. Bugling and violent antler clashes from fighting bulls can highlight your visit there.  The visitor center itself is a wonderful place to go inside and see the exhibits of nature and the history of our Pennsylvania elk.

When I made my visit to Elk Country, I saw more than 100 elk. Most of my sightings were from the elk visitors center-controlled areas, but don’t stop and spend your entire time there. Travel and explore. From the visitors center if you take a right turn onto Winslow Hill Road, be on the lookout for parked vehicles and brake lights, that is a sure sign of elk.

The biggest elk I saw came from being at the right place at the right time. Suddenly, the vehicle in front of me stopped and brake lights came on. There directly in front of my truck, I could see a large protruding brown shape that made the vehicle in front of me stop. I knew it was an elk, but when he cleared the vehicle in front of me: Holy cow! it was a gigantic bull, following a cow toward a dirt driveway. Only several feet from my passenger window stood both elk.

The cow slipped easily underneath a cable that stretched across the lane, but the trailing bull wasn’t so lucky. His antlers got stuck and he made quite a ruckus trying to untangle himself. He shook violently and after several minutes of being stuck, he freed himself to continue following the cow elk.

The pictures were taken as the bull elk was seen by me, as it got caught in the cable, and finally as it walked away. As you can see he was one large bull elk.

I continued my drive up Winslow Hill Road to several other elk viewing areas and areas adjacent to the hard road I was on and saw elk at about every location.

That highlighted my trip to Elk Country. I suggest that if you never experienced seeing elk, you should put this visit on your bucket list. You won’t be disappointed.

Much information on viewing Pennsylvania elk can be retrieved on the websites of the Pennsylvania Game Commission or Elk Country Visitor Center, Pennsylvania.

Tom Shank can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 November 2016 16:41

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Seven Sorrows takes home Pony Super Bowl title

teamphotoPhotos by Bill Darrah -- Seven Sorrows won its first Super Bowl championship at the Pony level on Sunday, taking home the CFA Federal Conference championship.

Seven Sorrows won its first Super Bowl championship at the Pony level on Sunday, taking home the CFA Federal Conference championship.

The Eagles defeated Boiling Springs 28-12 at John H. Frederick Field in Mechanicsburg. They were undefeated on the season.

Seven Sorrows received the opening kickoff and converted a 3rd and 15 on two runs by Michael Barilla. Anthony Powell then ran under a Braelan Huber pass for a 42-yard touchdown. Anthony Stains was successful on the extra point kick and the Eagles led 8-0. image004Photo by Bill Darrah -- Anthony Stains of Seven Sorrows who was MVP of the game, takes a pass into the end zone in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

The first quarter ended on a turnover on downs for Boiling Springs when Chad Sipe made a tackle in the backfield on 4th and 5.

After a Huber pass to Amari Betha for a 20-yard gain, the Eagles appeared to convert on 4th and 2, but a holding call turned into an incompletion on 4th and 9. The Bubblers would score two plays later on a 59-yard touchdown run. The extra point attempt failed and the Eagles led at halftime, 8-6.

Powell recovered an onside kick for the Eagles to open the second half, but another holding call worked against them.

Despite a Huber-to-Jadyn Maple pass for 11 yards, the Eagles were forced to punt. And the defense responded. Stains, Sipe, Powell, Marquis Beasley, Collin Minto and Jaydon James gave the Bubblers little room to run.

Betha made a tackle in the backfield on 3rd and 10 to force a punt. After several penalties forced the Eagles into 3rd and 25, Huber threw to Stains in the right flat, and he went 72 yards for a touchdown.

The extra point kick failed and the third quarter ended with the Eagles leading 14-6.
The defense forced a turnover on downs and the Eagles went on a championship-winning scoring drive. Huber passed to Stains for 15 yards.

On a halfback pass, Stains passed to Betha for 20 yards. Titus Carter then blasted his way into the end zone from the 4 yard line behind blocks from James, Beasley, Steven Ramsey and Ben Staker. Stains converted the kick for a 22-6 lead halfway through the fourth quarter.

The Bubblers returned the kickoff to the Eagles’ 13 yard line, and scored two plays later to pull within 22-12. The Bubblers would get one more chance with the ball, but on the last play of the game, Stains returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown to make the final score 28-12.

Stains was named the game’s MVP. Malachi Brooks, Michael Carr and Shawn Eden played great defense. Xander McClinton, Aaron Nordai, and Jayden Rider also played in the championship game.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 November 2016 10:52

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Seven Sorrows Pony team advances to CFA Super Bowl, stays undefeated

Pony Playoff PicContributed photo -- No. 44 Michael Barilla and No. 43 Titus Carter line up behind quarterback Braelan Huber in the Pony win on Saturday vs. Greenwood.

One Seven Sorrows CFA football team advanced and one fell a point short in weekend action.

Middletown did not have any teams advance in the previous weekend’s action.

Seven Sorrows 30, Greenwood 14

The Eagles remained undefeated and advanced to the CFA Federal Conference Super Bowl by beating Greenwood 30-14 on Saturday at Big Spring High School.

The No. 1 seed Eagles jumped to an early 14-0 lead. Anthony Powell sacked the quarterback, causing a fumble with was picked up by Anthony Stains and returned 60 yards for a touchdown. Braelan Huber found Amari Betha on a 15-yard touchdown pass on their next possession and the Eagles looked like they would continue their dominance.

But Greenwood did not fold. They battled back to tie the score at 14 early in the third quarter.  

The Eagles responded with a halfback pass for a touchdown from Stains to Betha. Michael Barilla added a 13-yard touchdown run and the defense did the rest.  

Malachi Brooks had two interceptions and recovered an onside kick. Marquis Beasley and Jaydon James dominated the line of scrimmage, making it possible for Barilla to go over 100 yards rushing in the game.  

The Super Bowl is at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at John H. Frederick Football Field in Mechanicsburg . Seven Sorrows will play Boiling Springs, the No. 2 seed.

Boiling Springs has only one loss on the year, a 30-0 loss to Seven Sorrows in Week 8.

Gettysburg 13,
Seven Sorrows 12

A 13-12 loss to No. 2 seed Gettysburg on Sunday at West Perry High School ended the season for Seven Sorrows.

Jamar McKinney put his team on the scoreboard first with a touchdown run and a 6-0 lead. Gettysburg scored in the second quarter and the game went to the half tied at 6.

McKinney scored again in the third quarter, but the Eagles failed again on the extra point attempt, and it would be costly. Gettysburg tied the game with 34 seconds left and converted the extra point to lead by 1. The Eagles tried to get McKinney the ball in the open field, but an interception ended the game.  

A team that was usually smaller than their opponent, the Eagles still finished 7-3 on the season.  

The Eagles roster includes Tillman Artell, Tristan Coleman, Christopher Cooper, Mason Dudash, Caleb Einzig, Elijah Einzig, Zyker Gordon, Gabrial Graham, Dillen Holmes, Darius Jalloh, Demaj Jalloh, Shakeer Jalloh, Caine Kalonick, Wesley Kater, Parker Livingston, Mason Lupp, Michael Mattis, Austin McCorkel, Jamar McKinney, Maurice Mehalick, Bradyn Pristello and Devon Reid.

Smurf Bowl

The CFA’s season-ending Smurf Bowl was last weekend, and after a first-round loss to the eventual champion, the Eagles won their next 4 games to finish in third place.  

This year’s Smurfs include Marquel Beasley, Jaxon Brosnahan, Liam Engle, Garin Geesaman, Gidian Geesaman, Daniel Gilhool, Luke Heckman, Donte Howard, Jordan Kater, Jaden Kater, Jace Kryscio, Kellan Livingston, Andrew McCorkel, Kason Michael, Ben Nordai, Mario Palermo, Julien Payne, Greyson Peslis, Christian Ribic, Adrian Serrano, Trays Walker and Cameron Wertz.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 November 2016 13:11

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LSTAA Under 12 Orange soars in first round playoff

Orangebaseball1Photos courtesy of Dawn Knull

LSTAA’s Under 12 Minors Orange baseball team cruised to victory in the first round of playoffs. The local squad powered over Colonial Park Rec. Red on Mon., June 13 at the Met-Ed Field in Middletown.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 15:28

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