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Hunters get TV-inspired blessing

| Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, 12:51 a.m.

A popular reality television show inspired a NuMine church to bless local hunters as they prepare to head to the woods for deer season.

New Hope Assembly of God plans to host its first “Buck Commander Sunday” this weekend. The event will offer hunters a chance to receive blessings, have a meal of local game, take target practice and compete in sharpshooter contests.

The church organized the event after Pastor Steve Kromer watched an episode of “Duck Dynasty” on A&E.

“One episode highlighted a Sunday at their church, where everyone came in camouflage, heard the cast of the show speak during the service and held a fun fellowship afterward,” Kromer said.

“We live in Western Pennsylvania, where everyone hunts and wears camo as part of their lifestyle, so I thought we should do something similar here in Armstrong County.”

Kromer said by tapping into hunting, which is an important part of the county's culture, the church hopes to bring new faces into the church.

“I've heard a lot of buzz in the community, and a lot of people have been asking me about it, so we're hoping for a pretty good turnout,” Kromer said. “I hope we can appeal to hunters and provide an atmosphere where they will be comfortable and free to celebrate who they are.”

In addition to the blessing, the church plans to offer shooting competitions and a large- and small-game meal featuring salmon, bear, venison and squirrel, as well as salads and other non-game based foods, Kromer said.

Local hunter Nick Custer of Worthington said he's excited to attend Buck Commander Sunday. He plans to come to church in his best camoflauge and is thankful to have a blessing before heading into the woods this season.

This year, hunting season for those using regular firearms runs Dec. 2 through 14 for antlered and antlerless deer, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission's website.

“I think the blessing will help a lot of people out, and it makes me feel better,” Custer said. “When I'm out in the woods, I thank God for letting us have a nice day and, especially, if I get something, since He put it on the earth for us to use.”

Although NuMine resident Tiffany Harkleroad doesn't hunt, she said she is excited to take part in Buck Commander Sunday because she loves to eat fresh game and is a big fan of “Duck Dynasty.” She said she is glad her husband, Jason Harkleroad, will be blessed before going out to the woods.

“I just love ‘Duck Dynasty,' and watch it all the time,” she said. “These people are putting God back on TV, which is what this country, and a lot of hunters, need.”

Buck Commander Sunday is open to the public and begins at 10:30 a.m. in the New Hope Assembly of God, 9500 Route 85, NuMine.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or

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