These hunters still wear braces

November 18, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

Men and boys. Men and boys in pickup trucks. Men and boys in pick-up trucks with guns. Men and boys with dead deer in the back of pickup trucks.

The scene was repeated over and over Saturday morning at Keystone Sporting Goods at 13611 Pennsylvania Ave., one of Washington County's six deer-checking stations.

It was Youth Day, the day in Maryland when any child big enough to carry a gun can shoot one at a deer, as long as his or her father or some other adult is along.


Judging by the activity at Keystone Saturday morning, the young hunters were having some luck. There were some big bucks being checked in.

Some of the hunters were barely bigger then the guns they carried. Some had mouths full of braces. For some it was their first kill.

The buck that 11-year-old Marcus Peterson shot Saturday was his ninth deer.

"I saw a doe and I was getting ready to shoot at it when I saw these two bucks fighting," said Marcus, of Boonsboro.

"They stopped fighting and I shot one of them. He was about 40 or 50 yards away," Marcus said, smiling through his braces.

Derek Springer, 16, of Sharpsburg, has the patience of an oyster. He's been hunting since he was 9, has seen a lot of does in the last seven years, but chose not to shoot at them.

"He's been waiting all these years for a buck," his father, Rick Springer, said. "This is his first deer. He waited for a buck."

Derek's patience paid off Saturday morning when he brought a five-pointer to the Keystone checking station.

"I was sitting on a stump when he came out of the woods" Derek said. "He just stood there looking at us. He was about 150 yards away.

"When he turned his head the other way I shot him," Derek said. "I got him in the belly. He ran about 15 yards and fell."

"He came up over a hill and into a field," said Kyle Walters, 11, of Hagerstown.

It was his first buck, too. Last year Kyle shot his first deer, a doe. He said he's been hunting since he was 7.

Brian Doyle, 13, of Clear Spring got a trophy buck, an eight-pointer that weighed in at 140 pounds.

"I'm going to get the head mounted," he said.

As Brian tells it, he was hunting with Pat Davis, his step-father, when they saw the buck running across a field in front of them.

"My dad whistled, he stopped and I shot him," Brian said. "Right in the neck. He got up and started running and I shot again, but I missed, then he went down."

Brian's weapon is a 20-guage shotgun, a "youth gun," his father said.

Saturday's buck was Brian's third deer.

Joe Breehl, 12, was sitting in a tree house with his .30-06 at the ready. His grandfather, William Nutter, was on the ground driving a doe toward him.

The animal was about 50 yards away when Joe shot her.

"Last year he pushed seven deer and didn't shoot at one. He had buck fever," Nutter said.

"I was happy to know that I killed it," Joe said. "I was excited."

One youngster came in with a doe not much bigger than a medium-size dog, but he was proud of his accomplishment.

Even grandmothers were having their day.

Carol Mulligan of Hagerstown called the Herald-Mail newsroom Saturday afternoon to report that her grandson, Justin Smith, 11, of Hagerstown, shot an 8-point buck.

"He shot a doe last year," Mulligan beamed. "Oh, my, yes, we're proud of him."

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