Hunting means bonding for father-daughter team

November 26, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Wearing a blaze orange knit cap, Katherine Roy, 9, jumped into the bed of her dad's pickup truck Tuesday afternoon and looked down at their prized catch: A doe.

For Katherine, the best part of hunting is "getting the deer and having deer meat to eat."

For her father, Rick Roy, the best part of hunting was the young girl beside him. "Spending time with her," he said, motioning toward Katherine.

It was the first the Martinsburg father-daughter team have bagged a deer together.

Around 130 deer had been checked in at Sparks Sport Center in Martinsburg since the state's bucks-only gun season opened Monday. Although doe season opened two weeks ago, all but a handful of the deer have been bucks, said Curtis Ashcraft, an employee at Spark's.


Roy said it was a bit cold when he and his daughter awoke at 4:30 a.m. to hunt on a farm in Inwood, W.Va. He used toe and hand warmers to stay warm, while Katherine snuggled in a sleeping bag.

Together they set up in a ground blind and were quickly greeted by the sight of the doe.

"First one I saw. First one that went down," Roy said.

He and his daughter spent the rest of the morning trying to track down a 10-point buck that a friend had shot. Although they followed a blood trail, they did not find the deer. They planned to return today.

Roy - who said he abhors people who shoot deer and do not use their meat - is a venison connoisseur. He fries it, grills it, bakes it, makes Swiss steaks and beef jerky, among other prized recipes.

"You name it. He makes it," said Katherine.

Sitting in the bed of the pickup, Katherine stroked the doe's fur. "This doe's soft. Dad, can we keep the skin?" she asked.

Roy said the skin and fur is usually thrown away, but that he would see if there's a way to keep it. Katherine said she's like to have the fur in her bedroom.

Hunters from throughout the Eastern Panhandle checked their deer in at Spark's. Polaroid pictures of many of the hunters, posing by their deer, were posted inside the store.

Throughout West Virginia, where officials call buck season the state's most popular sporting event, around 20,000 deer had been killed by Tuesday. That number is 10,000 fewer than last year.

A mixture of rain, sleet and snow flurries Monday likely prevented hunters from registering high numbers of kills, said Division of Natural Resources spokesman Hoy Murphy.

Around 350,000 people are expected to hunt this year.

Historically, one-third of all deer killed during the 12-day bucks-only gun season are killed on the first day, and the first three days of the season account for half the kill.

DNR officials estimated that 100,000 deer - or about one-tenth of the state's whitetail population - will be killed by Dec. 6, the end of bucks-only gun season.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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