The Great Outdoors: 2017 Elk Expo Begins Saturday


When August arrives, I start thinking more about elk.

The nights are just a bit cooler, and September is right around the corner when elk act their wildest during the rut.  Just a few weeks ago, I woke up early and traveled to Winslow Hill to see them.  They were doing what they mostly do – eating.

Large groups of cows and their calves and smaller groups of bulls were all focused on eating, and it won’t be long before the mating season begins, and things get crazy.  If you are hoping to find out more about elk and their behavior, a trip to the upcoming Elk Expo is in order.

The 2017 Elk Expo, held Saturday, August 19, at the Elk Country Visitor Center (ECVC) on Winslow Hill in Benezette is something you don’t want to miss.  The highlight of the event is the license drawings held on Saturday, August 19, and Sunday, August 20.

The Pa. Game Commission’s elk license drawing is set for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, the drawing for the Keystone Elk Country Alliance Elk Tag will be held at 1:00 p.m.

There will be various food vendors, sporting goods vendors, and plenty of fun things to do for anyone of any age.

SCHEDULE

SATURDAY, AUGUST 19

9:00 a.m. – Flag Raising Ceremony: Legion Post 978, Weedville, will be hosting their flag raising ceremony.

9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. –  Vendors open: Please browse all of the vendors. There will be something for everyone!  They completely surround the Center, so don’t miss anyone!

10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.  – Elk Explanations @ Main Tent: KECA staff will teach participants everything they would ever want to know about elk! Learn fascinating facts about them. For example, did you know that antlers are one of the world’s fastest growing tissues?

10:30 a.m. to  noon & 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Wrangler  Band @ ECCO Building: Performing a variety of music from country to classic rock.  The Wrangler Band has shared the stage with several great artists including Faith Hill, Brad Paisley,  Neil McCoy, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Loretta Lynn, and many more.

11:00 a.m. – Story Teller @ Rest Tent – Story Teller, Dennis Murray will entertain you with whimsical stories.

11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Caricature Artist @ Location TBD: Caricature Artist, John Manders, will be sketching guests courtesy of the Elk Expo.  Be sure to stop by to have your sketch done.

11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. – K9 Officer Demonstration @ Main Tent: A Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer, Derek Daly, and K9 Officer, Gunner, will be performing demonstrations.

Noon to  5:00  p.m. – Nick Forsyth performs (with breaks for seminars) @ Rest Tent: Nick has been involved in many musical projects over the years. He now covers everything from Johnny Cash to Led Zepplin and Tom Petty.

Noon – Living With Snakes @ Main Tent: A large majority of the public are scared of snakes in one form or another. Come learn about these fascinating animals and how to identify the venomous snakes of Pennsylvania.

Noon, 3:00 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. – Mock Goose Hunts @ Edge of Field, Laurel Run Chapter of Delta Waterfowl booth: The Laurel Run Chapter of Delta Waterfowl will be presenting hands on mock goose hunts throughout the weekend.  This is a great activity for youths!

12:30 p.m. – Elk Overview with PGC @ ECCO Building: Elk Biologist, Jeremy Banfield, with the Pennsylvania Game Commission will be giving a presentation on Pennsylvania elk.

1:00 p.m. –  Pennsylvania Game Commission Elk License Drawing @ ECCO Building: There will be no live video feed of the drawing.

2:00 p.m. to  2:45 p.m. Meet the Deer Lady @ Rest Tent: Join Whitetail Deer expert, Ms. Rusty Snyder (The Deer Lady), from Double Diamond Deer Ranch to learn all about whitetails.

2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Conservation District @ Main Tent: The Elk County Conservation District will offer a Water Pollution Investigation program. Youth will have the opportunity to investigate the effects of development on natural resources such as groundwater, rivers, lakes, etc. They will learn how pesticides, fertilizers and other pollutants can enter waterways, and the effects this has on ecosystems. This will be a hands on activity for children of all ages.

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – KECA Elk Calling Contest @ Main Tent: Can you grunt, bugle, or mew like an elk?  If so, join KECA’s Youth Elk Calling Contest sponsored by Cabela’s.  *Must be 17 and under to participate.

Registration Form

3:15 p.m. to 3:45 – Nature Trivia @ Rest Tent: How well do you know Pennsylvania wildlife and the environment? Join us for a game of trivia that will test your knowledge of the world around you. Teams can consist of three to four people, and all ages are welcome to play. The each member of the winning team will receive a free ticket to our 4-D Conservation Theater.

3:45 p.m. – 2017 Elk Patch Contest Winner Award Presentation @ Rest Tent: Recognition to the winner of the 2017 Elk Expo patch design from the previously ran contest.

4:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. – Kids Corner @ Main Tent: Bring the kids to enjoy some fun-filled activities at the KECA tent. Kids can do make and take nature crafts, bird feeders, and more. Also participate in some interactive education activities as well and learn a little more about the Pennsylvania elk herd.

5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. – Story Teller @ Rest Tent: Story Teller, Dennis Murray, will entertain you with hunting and fishing stories.

5:00 p.m. – NWTF Youth Turkey Calling Contest @ ECCO Building: One of the most challenging and enjoyable parts of turkey hunting is turkey “calling.” Various types of calls are used to mimic the natural “talk” of the wild turkey. By mimicking a female the hunter attempts to entice the gobbler into range.

During the “off” season turkey hunters practice their calling by competing in Calling Contests where they test their skills against other “callers”. The NWTF will host a non-sanctioned calling contest. All Youth registrants will also receive a FREE Jake Membership with NWTF.

Registration Form

5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Oh Elk Game @ Main Tent: Bring your kids (8+) to the amphitheater for an interactive learning activity. Kids will learn about how population dynamics work as they play this game.

5:30 p.m. to  6:00 p.m. – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle @ Main Tent (then Amphitheater): Kids (6+) will learn about the importance of recycling through a fun interactive game. Meet in the Main tent.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 20

8:00 a.m. to  5:00  p.m. –  Vendors open: Please browse all of our vendors. There will be something for everyone!  They completely surround the Center, so don’t miss anyone!  We appreciate your support.

10:00 a.m. to  11:00 a.m – Birding Competition @ ECCO Building: Think you know your birds? Grab your binoculars and come test your skills at the Elk Expo, with a birding competition. Birding or bird watching is the act of observing birds as a recreational activity. Thousands of people worldwide participate in birding every year.

Do you think you have what it takes to be a birder? Come participate in the free birding competition with your family at the Elk Country Visitor Center. First and second place will receive a bluebird house or a bird feeder to take home with them.

11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. – Bluebird Seminar @ Main Tent: Join staff from the ECVC as they partner with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to provide a very informative seminar on the Eastern Bluebird. During this program learn interesting facts about the bluebird, such as its preferred habitat, reasons they are declining, and what you can do to help.  After the seminar stay and construct a “make and take” bluebird box, generously donated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Caricature Artist @ Location TBD: Caricature Artist, John Manders, will be sketching guests courtesy of the Elk Expo.  Be sure to stop by to have your sketch done.

11:30 a.m. to Noon – Meet the Deer Lady @ Rest Tent: Join whitetail deer expert, Ms. Rusty Snyder, from Double Diamond Deer Ranch to learn about whitetail deer.

Noon to 1:00 pm & 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm –  Against the Grain Band @ ECCO Building: Musical talent spanning over a variety of genres performing everything from classic rock to alternative to today’s hits.

Noon to 1:00 p.m. – Story Teller @ Main Tent: Story Teller, Dennis Murray, will entertain you with hunting and fishing stories.

Noon and 2:00 p.m. – Mock Goose Hunts @ Edge of field, Laurel Run Chapter of Delta Waterfowl booth: The Laurel Run Chapter of Delta Waterfowl will be presenting hands on mock goose hunts throughout the weekend. This is a great activity for youths!

Noon to 12:30 p.m. – Nature Trivia @ Amphitheater (Center of Main Circle): How well do you know Pennsylvania wildlife and the environment? Join us for a game of trivia that will test your knowledge of the world around you. Teams can consist of three to four people and all ages are welcome to play. The each member of the winning team will receive a free ticket to our 4-D Conservation Theater.

Noon to 5:00 p.m. – Nick Forsyth performs (breaks for seminars) @ Rest Tent: Nick has been involved in many musical projects over the years. He now covers everything from Johnny Cash to Led Zepplin and Tom Petty.

1:00 p.m. – Keystone Elk Country Alliance Elk Tag Raffle Drawing @ ECCO Building: Raffle tickets will be on sale at the Elk Expo until Sunday at 11:00 am for your last chance this year on a Pa Bull Elk Tag.

Purchase raffle tickets here.

1:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. – Elk Explanations @ Rest Tent: When do elk drop their antlers? How big are calves when they are born? Do you have questions about elk? Come join KECA staff for a question and answer style informational session. Bring all your burning questions you have about elk or other wildlife and KECA staff will try their best to answer them for you!

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Bring Back the Bees @ Main Tent: Join the staff for a brief presentation on Colony Collapse Disorder and its negative effects on our honey bee population. Afterwards join the KECA staff for a tour of our new pollinator gardens, where will discuss the importance of native wildflowers and how you can create a pollinator garden of your own.

3:00 p.m. to  4:00 p.m. – Story Teller @ Rest Tent: Story Teller, Dennis Murray, will entertain you with hunting and fishing stories.

4:00 p.m. – Kids Corner @ Main Tent: Bring the kids to enjoy some fun-filled activities at the KECA tent. Kids can do make and take nature crafts, bird feeders, and more. Also participate in some interactive education activities as well and learn a little more about the Pennsylvania elk herd.

ALL WEEKEND

PA Trappers Association Demonstrations and Exhibit

The Pa Trappers Association will be on hand in their booth all weekend to provide trapping demonstrations, answer all furbearer and pest control questions, along with providing hands-on activities for youth and adults.

Pennsylvania Game Commission Black Bear Processing

If they are able to trap a black bear, they will transport it to the Elk Expo to show how they record and process the animal before releasing it.

Keystone Elk Country Alliance Youth Shooting Sports

Join volunteers of the Keystone Elk Country Alliance for an opportunity to learn about their hunting heritage and youth shooting sports program. Hands-on training of both pellet gun and archery shooting will be available.

Feet Are Neat

This station will be set up throughout the weekend. Make sure to stop by and learn some interesting facts about a few of the animals found in the Pennsylvania Wilds.When visitors read about their preferred habitat, they will get a better idea of where to find some of their tracks!There will be a “Track Making Station” set up where visitors can see what they would look like if they come across one in the wild.

Antler Scoring

Big Game Scoring of any Pennsylvania harvested animal.  Scoring will be done in the PA Game Commission Booth by Wildlife Biologist, Tony Ross. Tony will also score elk and whitetail sheds.

Elk Trap Unit

The PA Game Commission will have their new single animal trap unit.  Elk Biologist, Jeremy Banfield has successfully used the trap to capture elk throughout the winter. The trap will be conveniently located near the Elk Country Visitor Center, so visitors can get an up close look at it.

Horse Drawn Wagon Rides

There will be horse drawn wagon rides in the evening.  Visitors will learn about the ECVC property and PA elk and their habitat. If participants are lucky, they will get to view elk from the wagon.

Stop by the information desk for reservations. Rides begin at 5:00 p.m.,  6:00 p.m.,  and 7:00 p.m.

For more information, go to VisitPAGO.com or ElkExpo.com.

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“The Great Outdoors,” sponsored by the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors, is a weekly blog by exploreClarion.com’s Scott Shindledecker. Plan your next outdoor adventure at VisitPAGO.com or call (814) 849-5197 for more information.


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