According to Pennsylvania Game Commission executive director Carl Roe, a potential state record for elk has been set during this month's six-day regular season, Monday-Saturday, Nov. 1-6.
Hunting on opening day in Jay Township, Elk County, Domenic Aversa Sr., of Woolwich, New Jersey, took a 7x7 bull with an estimated live weight of 867 pounds, making it the third-heaviest elk taken, but green-scored 389 and seven-eighths on the Boone & Crockett Club's official scoring system. If that score holds after the required 60-day drying time, it break the current record of 370 for a 6x7 bull taken last year by John Polenski of Meyersdale, Somerset County.
This year, 41 of the 51 licensed elk hunters were successful, with 18 bulls and 23 cows being taken. Taking the heaviest elk was John Murray Jr., of Grindstone, Fayette County, with a 7x7 bull opening day with an estimated live weight of 880 pounds in Benezette Township, Elk County.
Completing the top-five list of heaviest elk by estimated live weight are Charles Stowman, Westover, Clearfield County, an 8x7, 868-pound bull, Nov. 3, in Grove Township, Cameron County; Aversa; Rich Lundgren, Kittanning, Armstrong County, an 8x9, 852-pound bull, Nov. 1, Jay Township, Elk County; and James Wolfe, Mercersburg,Franklin County, a 7x7, 823-pound bull, Nov. 1, Covington Township, Clearfield County.
A cow with an estimated live weight of 582 pounds was the heaviest, and it was taken by Mark Gowarty of Johnstown, Cambria County, Nov. 2, in Benezette Township, Elk County. Completing the top-five list of heaviest cows are Nicholas Draghi, Elmira, New York, 575 pounds, Nov. 2, West Keating Township, Clinton County; George Shupe, Scottdale, Westmoreland County, 571 pounds, Nov. 1, Jay Township, Elk County; Russell Krut, Beaver Falls, Beaver County, 555 pounds, Nov. 3, West Keating Township, Clinton County; and Timothy Conners, Monroeville, Allegheny County, 549 pounds, Nov. 4, West Keating Township, Clinton County.
Robert Ehle of Orefield, Lehigh County, who was the successful bidder for the Elk Conservation Tag, took a 5x6 bull, Oct. 7, in Shippen Township, Cameron County. He purchased the Conservation Elk Tag at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundations national conference and was permitted to hunt from Sept. 1-Nov. 6.
For more info on elk in Pennsylvania, visit the PGC website at www.pgc.state.pa . us, click on "Hunting," and then click on the elk photograph.
This year's Autumn Hawk Watch at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary surpassed 20,000 raptor migrants, with the count at 19,998 to begin the week. Counters expect great migration conditions this weekend following the passage of a cold front through the region, and predict double-digit numbers of golden eagles as well as the possibility of 200-300 red-tailed hawks.
This autumn has produced an above-average count for Hawk Mountain, with the previous 10-year average at 17,732. This year's count will continue through Wednesday, Dec. 15.
So far this season, a record-breaking 357 bald eagles have passed, which is the largest number in 76 years of monitoring, as well as above-average numbers of peregrine falcons, merlins, American kestrels, sharp-shinned and cooper's hawks, ospreys, and both turkey and black vultures.
For more information on Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, visit the website at www.hawkmountain.org .
Pennsylvania Game Commission information specialist Jerry Feaser as today's guest of Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz on "Experience The Outdoors," from 7:30-8 a.m. on Oldies 1410-AM; Sunday, from 9:30-10 a.m., on WMGH, 105.5-FM; and on the Web at www.wmgh.com  by clicking the "Experience The Outdoors" link.
A trap shoot will be held, Thursday, Dec. 2, beginning at 6 p.m., at Orwigsburg Gun Club, Gun Club Road, off Route 443 East, Orwigsburg. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
Schuylkill Spurs Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation meets, Thursday, Dec. 2, beginning at 7:30 p.m., at West Penn Archery, South Tamaqua. For information, call Kevin Titus at 570-668-5903.
First Frontier Militia, the muzzleloader arm of Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club, will hold a muzzleloader shoot, Sunday, Dec. 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club is located on Gun Club Road, off Route 248, Bowmanstown. For information, call Roger Fisher at 610-377-2812.
Schuylkill County Trout Unlimited meets Tuesday, Dec. 21, beginning at 7 p.m., at Yorkville Fire Company, South 20th and West Norwegian Sts., Pottsville. For information, call Randy Emerich at 570-622-1252 or access on the Web at www.schuylkilltu.org .