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Pa. deer hunters armed for season's start

November 29, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

FORT LOUDON, Pa. -- Keystone Country Store sold out of tree umbrellas Sunday as hunters anticipating a rainy start to buck season stopped in for last-minute purchases.

Pennsylvania's two-week firearms deer season opens Monday. The field officer forecasts on the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Web site describe the buck population as "fair to good" in numbers this year.

Hunters report seeing large bucks in the area, according to Kevin Schoenberger, one of the owners of Keystone Country Store.

"There's some skepticism about the quantity of the deer," he said.

Dominick Giordano is a New Jersey resident who regularly hunts in his home state, as well as in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada. He's been hunting for 46 years and says he hasn't missed an opening day of buck season in Pennsylvania.

"Southcentral Pennsylvania is my favorite of all the places I've been," said Giordano, who was at Keystone on Sunday. He described the region as peaceful.

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He offers advice to new hunters: "Do not go out on opening day and kill an eight-point buck. You'll ruin the rest of your life trying to find another one."

Gary Johnson of Huntingdon County, Pa., already brought home an antlerless deer during archery season. He's unsure whether he'll hunt with a rifle this year.

"I like hunting the ridges," said Johnson, who has hunted for 20 years in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Craig Robinson of Path Valley, Pa., plans to hunt later this week after a hiatus of a few years. On Sunday, he perused Keystone Country Store's stock of ammunition, which Schoenberger said is diminished and 10 percent pricier.

"Some of the more popular calibers have been hard for us to get," Schoenberger said.

Schoenberger said the store has been selling licenses to a mix of state residents and nonresidents. The combination of rural and mountain settings appeals to hunters, he said.

"There's a fairly nice selection of state gamelands here," Schoenberger said.

Not as many children seem to take up hunting as 20 years ago, Schoenberger said. Children must be 12 years old before they can hunt in Pennsylvania, he said.

Hunters are required to wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange on their head, chest and back.

In a news release, the Game Commission said deer hunters in certain areas who have an unused bear license may take a bear during the black bear season, which has been extended through Saturday.

Travis L. Crouse of Chambersburg, Pa., and Arthur G. Clayton of Amberson, Pa., shot two of the season's heaviest bears on Nov. 23. Crouse's bear weighed 644 pounds and Clayton's 588 pounds, placing both bears in the top-10 heaviest processed at check stations.

Crouse's bear was shot in Todd Township in Fulton County. Clayton's was shot in Fannett Township in Franklin County, according to a news release.




On the Web

www.pgc.state.pa.us

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