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Hunters take stock on first day

November 28, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Flurries greeted Joel Fitz during an unsuccessful deer hunt a week ago in Moorefield, W.Va., and a hunt Saturday in Washington County also was not an easy stroll through the woods.

This time, though, Fitz's patience was rewarded with a hard-earned, four-point buck.

"Today was rough. It was real windy," said Fitz, 18, who headed out at 5:30 a.m. to hunt with his father. "I usually kill a nice eight (point buck) every year."

Saturday was the first day of Maryland's firearms hunting season, which ends Dec. 11. Deer also can be hunted Jan. 7 and Jan. 8, and on Sundays during the season on private land, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

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A local DNR spokeswoman said the total number of deer killed in the county will not be available until Monday.

At Battleview Market in Sharpsburg, 135 deer had been checked in from 8:09 a.m. to mid-afternoon, store employee Dawn Canfield said.

Canfield, 17, had on a blaze orange hat and camouflage pants. Although working prevented her from hunting, she still had hope.

"As soon as I leave here (I'm hunting)," she said.

Fitz brought his deer to the market, which has been a deer check-in station for two years. It was in the bed of a pickup truck, sharing space with a four-wheeler.

Corn still standing elsewhere likely kept a lot of deer away from his and his father's usual hunting grounds, said Fitz, of Clear Spring.

"They're not up on the mountain," he said.

Fitz planned to share what meat he and his family do not need with other friends and relatives who do not hunt.

"We don't waste ours," said Fitz, who said he hates it when hunters kill deer but do not eat the venison.

A perfect day for deer hunting would be something like this: "Twenty degrees. No wind. Spending time with my dad. That's a perfect day. We've killed a lot of deer together," Fitz said.

Another father-son hunting pair declared Saturday's somewhat mild weather to be nearly ideal conditions.

"Today was a really nice day," said Richard Mickey, of Marion, Pa., who was hunting with his 19-year-old son, Ben.

The pair had three antlerless deer lined up in the bed of their pickup truck. They checked in their deer at Keystone Sporting Goods on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown.

"I just like to get out and go. It's nice to get away from all the hectic people and everything," Ben Mickey said.

His father said hunting enables him to talk with his son while hunting and also while driving to and from their hunting spot.

"It's a real good father-son thing," he said.

The Mickeys plan to give one of the deer to a relative, while the other two will provide their family with plenty of venison steaks and burgers.

"That's all we live off of," Ben Mickey said with a smile.

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