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Some Pa. hunters enjoy success on opening day

One local hunter bags a trophy 12-point buck after spending about nine hours in his tree stand.

One local hunter bags a trophy 12-point buck after spending about nine hours in his tree stand.

December 03, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Terry Sheffler bagged himself a trophy Monday.

The 12-point buck he shot Monday afternoon off Old Forge Road in Washington Township, Pa., will be around for a long time - at least its head and neck will.

"That part's going on my wall," said Sheffler, 44, of Waynesboro. "I'm going to be looking at him for the rest of my life."

Sheffler's lifeless buck was sprawled in the bed of his brother-in-law's Isuzu pickup truck. It was parked in front of the Dollar General Store on Main Street where Sheffler's wife, Laura, works. He stopped to show her the deer.

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Monday was the opening day of Pennsylvania's deer gun season. For the second year in a row hunters with the proper permits can shoot either bucks or does.

New this year in most Pennsylvania counties, including Franklin and Fulton, is a rule banning the shooting of bucks with less than three points on one antler.

Pennsylvania's deer population dropped by 100,000 animals in the past year, down to 1.3 million.

State game biologists estimate the new rule will drop the number of bucks normally killed from about 200,000 to about 125,000 this year. It is also expected to raise the number of antlerless deer killed from around 300,000 to 375,000, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.

The new rule is expected to stabilize the state's deer population and allow more bucks to grow into bigger targets with trophy racks like the one Sheffler shot Monday.

Last year's concurrent buck and doe season has already produced results in Franklin County, said Kevin Mountz, wildlife conservation officer for the county.

"It had definitely reduced the pressure on bucks here," he said. Many hunters are seeing deer with larger racks this year, he said.

Sheffler said Monday he was freezing after sitting in his tree stand from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.

He said he had seen only two does all day and was ready to climb down when he spotted the 12-pointer with two does. "I took a shot and at first I didn't think I hit him," he said. "I've been hunting for 30 years and I've never got one like this before. He's tops."

By 2 p.m. in another part of Franklin County, at Keystone Country Store, a sporting goods and hunting supply store in Fort Loudon, 10 hunters had stopped by to weigh their deer.

Unlike Maryland and West Virginia, hunters in Pennsylvania don't have to take their deer into state-run checking stations. They have to send a form noting every deer they kill to the state Game Commission.

Steve Mixell, 49, of St. Thomas, Pa., was driving away after weighing the nine-point buck he had shot at around 7 a.m. in Bedford County, Pa.

He'd had an easier time of it then Sheffler.

"I wasn't on the stand more than five minutes when he showed up. I shot him with a 30-06," Mixell said.

Randy Eigenbroad, co-owner of Keystone Country Store, said usually about 20 hunters come to the store on opening day to weigh their deer. "It's only 2:15 and we have 10 already," he said. Most of the deer brought to the store by that time were does. He said he expected as much considering the new rule against shooting young bucks.

Walter Starliper, owner of Starliper's Custom Butchering at 13783 Buchanan Trail West in Mercersburg, was busy Monday as hunters dropped off their deer, whole or in parts, for processing.

By 3 p.m. Starliper had tagged more than 50 deer, he said.

He said he expects to process more than 700 before deer seasons end in Pennsylvania and nearby states.

He has to double the number of workers during deer season to handle the extra work, he said. "Normally we have six to eight people working here," he said.

Starliper's has been in business for 30 years processing beef and pork except during deer season when it only handles venison, Starliper said.

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