Hunter Turnout Down Opening Day
Thirteen-year-old Brandon Langeheine waited patiently for the perfect shot. His patience paid off when at 7:30 a.m. Monday a beautiful, eight-point buck walked into his sights. One slow squeeze of the trigger and Langeheine bagged his very first deer, thereby marking the season opener of the statewide firearms season for both antlered and antlerless deer.
In his second year in the field, Langeheine stated his love of hunting comes honestly as his family has boasted some big hunters of deer, turkey and even bear. The Hanover, Pa., teenager enrolled in the eighth grade was visiting the Fulton County area for the first two days of the twoweek season with his 19-year-old brother Bryan.
Bryan, according to an elated Brandon, was fortunate enough to have already bagged a deer in archery season.
The group was celebrating the youngest Langeheine brother's kill in state gamelands near the border of Wells and Broad Top townships when they were checked by local Pennsylvania Game Commission field officers, who had the opportunity to share the memorable moment with the Langeheine family.
"The highlight of my day was checking that 13-year-old boy with his very first buck," said Fulton County Wildlife Conservation Officer Kevin Mountz. "A young hunter in the field having one of the most memorable experiences of his life is something that is an honor and a privilege to share in."
While Mountz noted some hunters such as Langeheine were lucky in pulling out some "rather nice bucks" from both private and state wooded areas, others were not so fortunate and finished the day without catching a glimpse of the buck of their dreams.
With weather fluctuating between bouts of rain, sleet, fog and blue skies depending on where hunters were located in the county, Mountz stated hunting pressure during the season opener was normal if not a bit lower than in prior years. In fact, some areas that experienced early morning ice and fog were not hunted until after 8 a.m.
"In the Buchanan State Forest hunters seemed to be out in force in most areas. However, more popular areas, such as the Oregon Road, had less pressure than normal," said Mountz, who was assisted on the opening day by deputies Andy Carbaugh and Bob Strait and Fish and Boat Commission Waterways Conservation Officer Anthony Quarracino.
Even though talking with the Langeheine family and sharing in the joy of a young hunter's first kill was the highlight of the field officer's day, Mountz jested that he and fellow officers do occasionally run into an oddity or unusual occurrence through the course of their field checks. During the 2008 season, one of the oddest sightings was a man who had been dropped off in the state forestlands for a day of hunting. Unfortunately, when exiting the vehicle the man accidentally forgot to grab his rifle. The man was left with only his cellphone and a backpack and stood roadside waiting until his hunting companions finished in Bedford County and could return with his gun.
Hunters are also reminded that wildlife management unit (WMU) 4B will only be open for antlered deer hunting through Friday, December 5. The remainder of the season set for December 6 through December 13 will include the harvesting of both antlered and antlerless deer for 4B that lies to the east of Route 522 and north of the Route 30 bypass. No changes were made to the season guidelines in WMU 4A, which encompasses the remainder of Fulton County.