The elk are bugling for the start of mating season, and two live webcams are catching the call of the wild and more.
Elk watching continues to grow as a tourist attraction in the north-central part of the state. For those who cannot visit, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and PixCams of Murrysville are now offering free webcam livestreams of prime elk territory.
Starting soon, bulls will
bugle to cows and challenge other bulls during mating season in September and October. The fights are spectacles with grudge matches between bulls pushing and shoving without serious injury.
There are about 1,350 elk in the state, according to the commission’s population estimate in March 2020.
Today, elk can be found in portions of Elk, Cameron, Clinton, Clearfield and Potter counties.
“The Elk Cam gives viewers a chance to experience the wonder of Pennsylvania’s elk rutting season, without ever leaving home,” said Bryan Burhans, the commission’s executive director. “Sit back and enjoy the show,”
The Game Commission installed a camera in a field that is a hub of elk activity on State Game Lands 311 in Elk County. The camera is livestreamed by HDOnTap with support from the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission.
The commission announced last week that its webcam is live.
Two PixCams webcams are stationed in Elk County in conjunction with the Keystone Elk Country Alliance, a nonprofit that operates the Elk Country Visitor Center.
The center attracted more than a half million visitors during the elk breeding season in 2019, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“We’re looking for a better year this season after building up a great network of volunteers to help manage the two cams we’re streaming at the elk center,” said Bill Powers, owner of PixCams.
PixCams donated the cams to the the alliance and upgraded them last year. Volunteers help operate the cameras remotely, moving them to follow the elk.
This is PixCams third year of operating the elk cams during elk mating season and other times of the year. Viewership continues to increase, Powers said.
“I’m not sure if the swell of viewers has been related to the covid-19 pandemic,” Powers said. “But new viewers are amazed because they didn’t know we had these amazing animals in our state.”
The top time to see elk on camera is late in the afternoon. Elk are most active at dawn and dusk.
Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .