With deer hunting season fast approaching, one question is always on the minds of hunters: Am I going to bag the big one this year?
And when the two-week season starts on Monday, Nov. 26, this may be the year that many deer hunters have been waiting for in many ways. The deer population remains steady, the weather is mild, and the calls and baits are garnering a solid response throughout the area.
As the results of archery and muzzle-loader deer season are being discussed, one thing is clear the bucks are out. Though the year's first monster buck has yet to be tracked down or reported, hunters around the area are reporting solid results.
Larry Watson, Jr.
Larry Watson Jr. at Watson's Field & Stream in Youngsville said on Thursday that several 140 to 160 class bucks have been bagged in the area.
"If you can find the food, you'll find the deer," said Watson. "If you can stay out all day it's your best bet. The bucks are looking for doe, which means you'll have just as much luck at noon as you will at any other time of the day."
Similar results have been recorded by Warren hunters. Gary Wert of Grizzly Gary's feels this year is shaping up to be a good year with "a good bit of bone" already being turned in. Among the many deer reported is Gage Shaffer's 5-point buck. Shaffer is a member of the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, which allows children under the age of 12 to go out hunting with an adult mentor. They are able to hunt turkey, squirrel, and deer provided the mentor carries the firearm until the time of the approach and shot.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission reported that the mild winter last year has definitely been a positive for the development of antlers and overall health and size of the deer. "When the deer don't have to fight the elements as much, they are able to grow and develop in ways that typically favor the hunters," said a Game Commission representative. "A lot of the time people don't realize that it is the previous year's weather and food that affects their development more than the current conditions."
Local deer-hunting experts offered the following tips for hunters:
Check your target and beyond to avoid accidents
Assume every firearm is loaded and point it in a safe direction at all times
Scout the game trails and look for tracks, rubbing on trees, droppings, and other signs of deers' presence in the area
Lures, calls, and baits are popular and have been getting results so far this year
Enjoy the camaraderie and the experience instead of focusing on the kill.
The Game Commission has extended archery season one day to Monday, Nov. 12 because of Veteran's Day, which is Sunday, Nov. 11.