Deer season full of ups and downs
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Deer season means memories.
Most are good. A few, fueled by greed, are not.
This season was no different, even though — at times and in spots, perhaps because of the unusually warm weather — hunting pressure was lighter than might have been expected.
Randy Pilarcik, the Pennsylvania Game Commission's wildlife conservation officer in southern Butler County, said he and his deputies encountered fewer hunters than in previous years.
“This wasn't for the lack of deer, though,” he said. “On a recent night patrol, I saw more than 100 deer in adjacent fields while driving along the district roadways.”
Some hunters, including young ones, found deer.
Fifteen-year-old Luke Benzinger was hunting with his dad, Joe, near their home in Trafford when he shot an antlerless deer on the season's first Saturday. It was his first deer.
Mike Sweeney Jr. of North Huntingdon, a junior at Norwin High School, bagged a 5-point in Armstrong County, while a brother-sister team combined to get two bucks. Devin Seaholm, 14, of Washington Township, killed a 12-point with a 19-inch spread. A day later, his 16-year-old sister, Alexandra, got an 8-point.
A number of children in the woods via the mentored youth program, which lets children younger than 12 hunt so long as they are accompanied by an adult, also got deer.
Ten-year-old Jacob Miller of Ruffsdale shot an 8-point buck while in a treestand with his dad, Joe, and Sabrina Wolfe got an 8-point in Westmoreland County.
Probably one of the youngest hunters to get a deer, though, was 6-year-old Dominic Nelson. The South Butler Primary School kindergartener from Cabot was hunting in the Freeport area with his dad, Shawn, when he got a 6-point. He shot it with a 20-gauge shotgun he'd gotten for Christmas last year.
“We're so excited,” said his mother, Sara Nelson. “We're having it mounted because it was his first one.”
Among adults, Brian “Bear” Cerra of White Oak Rod and Gun Club got a 6-point in Hickory Township, Washington County, shooting it at a distance of about “10 feet, no joke.” David Shotts of Tarrs got an 8-point in Clearfield County.
Unfortunately, deer season also brought some mistakes accidents and intentional cheating.
In Mercer County, one hunter fired at a deer estimated to be 650 yards away and, in the process, shot over a road and into a house, said wildlife conservation officer Donald Chaybin. The bullet passed through a living room window and lodged in an interior wall. That hunter has paid for repairs but still faces charges.
Not far away, another bullet entered a home, but the shooter has yet to be identified.
Many cases of hunters using bait were reported from around the region. Typical was what was reported by conservation officer cadet Brian Sheetz, working in northern Indiana County.
“On the first day of the statewide firearms deer season, several citations were filed for unlawful devices and methods where the hunters were using salt blocks as enticements for deer,” he said.
Wildlife management unit 2B also gave up two more black bears during deer season. Hunters were allowed to shoot those in that unit under new rules designed to keep the bear population to a minimum.
One hunter got a bear in Fawn Township, while Derrick Honaker of Elizabeth Township got a 300-pound bear while hunting in Elizabeth.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-838-5148.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mentored hunting program gets tweaked
- Game commission to consider longer buck, bear seasons
- Pa. Fish and Boat Commission makes controversial trout decision
- Fish and Boat Commissioners look for chances to get kids outside
- Game lands permit idea by Pennsylvania Game Commission upsets hikers
- Proposal for stocking of Class A waters causes stir
- Outdoors notebook: Legislature considering outdoors proposals