Deer hunting season opens

December 02, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

DOWNSVILLE - Charlie Settle of Downsville didn't much mind that he came back empty-handed on the first day of Maryland's firearm deer-hunting season.

At age 62 and retired, Settle figures he has two weeks to land "the big one," a 10-point buck he's been eyeing.

Those trophy deer always show themselves before and after the hunting season, but darn it if they don't seem to hide when hunting season comes around, he said.


"He didn't get to be 10-point for being dumb," Settle said with a chuckle. "I don't like a deer smarter than me."

As he was eating a hearty post-hunting breakfast of pancakes and sausage at Downsville General Store, Settle traded stories about opening day with other hunters.

The store serves as a station where hunters report the deer they have bagged to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Woody Robinson, 30, felled a seven-point buck in the Boonsboro area. It weighed in at 147 pounds.

His father, Elwood "Pee Wee" Robinson, credited a scent called Beaver's lure along with some fatherly advice.

"I learned him ever since he was that big," Pee Wee Robinson said, holding his hand about knee high.

Settle taught Sam Wright, 25, of Downsville, how to hunt and the two recalled Wright's first adventure when he nearly shot his father's horse by accident.

Wright had climbed into a Locust tree before dawn on an especially windy day and tied himself in tight so he wouldn't fall out.

He saw the shadowy movement of what he thought was a deer, but when the sun broke he saw the familiar star marking on the horse's nose.

Starting at 7:15 a.m. Saturday, a steady stream of hunters came in to the store, said clerk Dave Davis.

The first ones to arrive are the hunters who use deer stands in handy locations, he said.

Kelly Pitsnogle, 41, of Boonsboro, didn't have to leave his own back yard to get the eight-point buck he will have processed for meat.

"It's what I live for. Watching 'em drop," he said.

The largest deer usually arrive late in the day, brought in by "die-hard" hunters who hike miles through the woods to get their prize, Davis said.

But Butch Sentz, 56, of Hagerstown, didn't wait for a buck. Instead, he shot a 108-pound doe he plans to have processed so he can give most of the meat to family members at Christmas.

Sentz said he felt lucky that he was able to shoot the deer in the neck, killing her almost instantly.

"I can't stand to see them suffer," he said.

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