Elk Season Underway
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The 2018 Pennsylvania elk hunt kicked off Monday with its check station at a new location. The check station is located at the Keystone Elk Country Visitor Center on Homestead Drive in Benezette. "We chose the Visitor Center because it just eemed to be a good location and a spot where we had plenty of parking," said Information and Education Supervisor Mike Steingraber. "It met all the criteria we needed as an agency for collecting data, which is the main point of the check station." The six-day season provides a special opportunity for a few lucky hunters. Ross Hunsinger of Harleysville was one of the 125 names drawn for the 26 bull and 99 cow tags. "I've been putting in the drawing for 10 years and I got picked for a bull this year," Hunsinger said. Hunsinger's bull weighed 753 lbs and had an 8x7 rack. Ryan Snyder of Bethel also bagged the trophy of a lifetime during opening day. Snyder's bull weighed 665 lbs and had a 6x6 rack. "We had a herd of five come out and I picked the biggest one out of the five," Snyder said. "I shot him from about 50 yards around 6:50 a.m." The Pennsylvania Game Commission collects biological samples from each elk, including the obex and lymph nodes to test for chronic wasting disease. They also head to the location where each elk was harvested to make sure it was killed lawfully.