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Weather takes toll on first-day hunters in Pa.

November 29, 2005|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

FORT LOUDON, PA.

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

The local harvest on the first day of Pennsylvania's rifle deer season for doe and antlered bucks is expected to be lower than normal, due to poor weather conditions in Franklin County.

By early afternoon Monday, only five hunters had brought deer to Keystone Country Store to be photographed and weighed, according to owner Kevin Schoenberger.

"People coming in said they hadn't heard much shooting," Schoenberger said.

The store, which carries all manner of hunting and fishing supplies, was open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday.

"We normally open at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. on the first day of buck season," Schoenberger added, "but we all wanted to hunt."

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He was out in the woods for about an hour, he said, but didn't see much deer activity.

"The weather has a lot to do with it. Visibility is the biggest thing," Schoenberger said. "With all the fog, there was very limited visibility on the mountain. And with the wet ground, you can't hear the deer."

Hunters who shoot a buck having fewer than three points on an antler face a hefty fine, so good visibility is crucial.

This past weekend was the store's busiest of the year, Schoenberger said. He was still selling hunting licenses Monday morning, along with rain gear, ponchos and hand warmers, he said.

The deer brought in Monday were two 10-points, a six-point, a seven-point and an eight-point, Schoenberger said. On Dec. 17, the store will hold its annual "horn-measuring" party.

The only white-tailed deer that first-time hunter Hillary Myers, 13, of Greencastle, Pa., saw Monday was being dragged out of the woods by a hunter.

She and her dad, Jeff Myers, hunted near Cowan's Gap about 7 a.m. Monday, Hillary said.

"It was wet and cold. We heard some shooting," she said.

Wearing a blaze orange hat, Hillary waited in the truck at Keystone Country Store while her father went in for more shells.

Rifle deer season for doe and antlered bucks runs through Dec. 10. Last season, hunters took in 409,320 deer, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

More than 16,600 doe licenses were issued in Franklin County this year, according to the Franklin County Treasurer's Office.

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