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10-point buck stirs up hunting crowd in Jefferson County

November 20, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. ? There was a lull in the arrival of deer Monday afternoon on the first day of deer season at the Blue Ridge Grocery until Mitch Jackson made it come alive.

Several hunters were talking about how foggy conditions made it difficult for them to kill a deer when Jackson pulled up with a huge 10-point buck in the back of a pickup truck.

"Wall hanger, baby," one hunter yelled out to Jackson.

"That's the best one I've seen today," said hunter George Breeden.

The day didn't start well for Jackson, either.

He said he was hunting on a private farm in the Shepherdstown, W.Va., area and was getting ready to leave when he saw the 10-point buck.

The deer was chasing a doe when Jackson made his kill.

Jackson talked about his successful day of hunting after he checked the animal in at the local grocery store on the Blue Ridge Mountain.

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Jackson was one of an estimated 320,000 hunters expected to take advantage of West Virginia's two-week buck season for guns, which extends until Dec. 1.

Although weather conditions might have made hunting difficult in some areas, the number of deer killed on the first day in Jefferson and Berkeley counties was indicative of how prevalent white-tailed deer are in the Eastern Panhandle.

Numerous deer have been seen dead along local highways as hunting season ? typically an active time for deer ? approaches. And earlier in the year, Jefferson County government officials have expressed concern about how large numbers of deer have been invading fields and eating crops.

At Shanghai Grocery in Berkeley County, more than 60 deer had been checked in by late Monday afternoon, said store owner Dorothy Snow.

As darkness was falling Monday, many hunters were still coming in with their kills, Snow said.

"They probably got 15 people standing in line checking deer in. That's an awful lot," Snow said.

Snow worked in the store Monday morning, then took her grandson, Alex Kingery, into the woods in the Jones Spring, W.Va., area to hunt Monday afternoon.

Snow talked to a reporter via cell phone in a hushed voice while her grandson stalked the woods.

At the Tomahawk Valley Store in the Berkeley County community of Tomahawk, about 25 deer had been checked in as of late Monday afternoon.

Store spokeswoman Angie Miller considered that number a reflection of a good day in the woods.

At the Blue Ridge Grocery, about 14 bucks had been checked in before 1 p.m., which was about average, store manager Bernice Utt said. Five of the bucks were eight points, Utt said.

Breeden and several of his friends were hunting in the Shannondale Springs Wildlife Management Area on the Blue Ridge Mountain Monday morning.

But foggy conditions made it impossible for the crew to find a buck, although the Shannondale, W.Va., resident said he did see four does together.

Larry Ott was hunting in Shannondale Springs when he saw a spike deer about 10 a.m. Ott said he shot the deer from a tree stand after he made a "Baaaa" sound to the animal.

"That will stop them," Ott said.

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