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Deer season off to a slow start in Pa.

December 01, 2008|By DON AINES

FORT LOUDON, Pa. -- Business was a bit slow at Mac's Taxidermy early Monday afternoon as Scott Akers scraped the flesh off a deer hide, but at that moment, another customer was heading his way from a successful first day of deer season.

Akers was working on a hide for a head mount for his nephew, Josh Pluta of Greencastle, Pa.

"He killed a pretty good eight-point on state game land," said Akers, who hunted with Pluta that morning.

Bear were scarce during the just completed season, he said, but Pluta spotted a mother and three cubs as he was gutting the buck.

Owner Mike McCullough was still out hunting as Akers worked, surrounded by a menagerie of preserved animals, including foxes, snakes, wild fowl, lynxes, dogs and cats.

Next door at Keystone Country Store, Lewis Pine of Cove Gap, Pa., was getting his eight-pointer weighed by co-owner Kevin Schoenberger. He shot the animal at about 9:30 a.m., he said.

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"Not too awful far ... about half a mile," Pine said when asked how far he had to drag the deer.

"Far enough," said Schoenberger. That buck weighed 141.4 pounds.

"I'm 72 and I've been hunting probably since I was about 16," Pine said.

"That's only the seventh deer brought in so far ... It's a little slower than normal," Schoenberger said. "That's by far the nicest buck that's been brought in so far."

More pickups and sport utility vehicles were starting to roll in.

Casey Snoke of Marion, Pa., and Keith Hershey of Newburg, Pa., pulled in with a nine-point buck Snoke downed shortly before noon. The whitetail weighed in a 142.8 pounds, according to the scale, but Snoke had not registered for Keystone's annual big buck contest.

"It's all luck," Snoke said.

"Right place at the right time," said Hershey. "There were four running together."

"I'll take it right next door like I always do," Snoke said, indicating Mac's Taxidermy. "He does good work."

How the first day of the season went will not be known for some time, said Pennsylvania Game Commission spokesman Jerry Feaser. Last week, he said there would be upward of 900,000 hunters trekking into the woods for opening day.

As of 4:30 p.m., Feaser said there were almost no hunting accidents to report. A juvenile in Venango County, Pa., shot himself in the foot while unloading a firearm in a garage and there was a report of an incident in Latimore Township in northeastern Adams County for which he had no details.

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