Hunters Boast Successful Deer Season Opener
Like many area residents, Molly Carbaugh took up hunting at the age of 12. With some guidance and plenty of encouragement from her father, Pennsylvania Game Commission Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer Andy Carbaugh, she has faithfully headed into the woods every year in hopes of harvesting a whitetailed deer.
After six long years of waiting, Carbaugh got her chance Monday morning on the opening day of the statewide two-week rifle season when she felled her very first deer – a doe. The 18-year-old Mc- Connellsburg girl told the “News” she was hunting with her dad, sister and uncle off Great Cove Road in Ayr Township when she fired off her lucky shot at 7:45 a.m.
“I was so excited,” Carbaugh said. “At first we weren’t sure I hit it. Dad had been watching in his binoculars as I shot it, and he said it jolted. Once we found it, I was pumping up and down. It was my first deer.”
Another lucky female hunter on Monday was 11-year-old Jenna Richards of McConnellsburg, the daughter of Ryan and Kim Richards. While hunting on the family farm just north of the borough, Richards harvested her very first antlered deer, a six-point, and had plans to head back to the woods in hopes of shooting a doe as well.
If not more important than harvesting a deer, though, is the time Richards got to spend with her dad during hunting season. The family plans to get the antlers mounted to honor Richards’ first buck kill.
Having had successful deer hunts in recent years, brothers Tanner and Bohen Henry boasted yet another successful harvest this year. By lunchtime Monday, the sons of Eddie and Melissa Henry of Hustontown, had both bagged an impressive buck.
Nineteen-year-old Tanner, a student at California University of Pennsylvania, was the first of the family’s lucky hunters, taking down an eight-point at 7:30 a.m. on the family farm. The deer was Tanner’s second-largest buck as he had killed a 10-point two years ago.
Meanwhile, 15-year-old Bohen, a sophomore at Forbes Road Junior/ Senior High School, killed his eight-point buck, also on the family farm, at 11:50 a.m. Both boys are looking forward to digging into some deer meat in the near future and will be keeping their antlers for bragging rights.
Pennsylvania Game Commission officials mirrored what local hunters seemed to be saying about having a good day in the field. Josh Fette, a cadet with the Game Commission’s 29th class of wildlife conservation officers, told the “News” the beautiful weather that graced the skies over Fulton County made Monday a “great day to hunt.” On the flip side, Tuesday’s dusting of snow was just what some local hunters were wishing for.
“Some of the more die-hard hunters love to hunt with a light snow for tracking purposes,” the 27-year-old Mercer County native reported. “Deer will be bedded down more because it’s colder so hunters will have to resort to a good old-fashioned deer drive to get them up and moving.”
Fette further said officers observed some really nice antlered deer on opening day in the field as well as at Strait’s Butcher Shop in Harrisonville. “I’d say it’s a testament to what the Game Commission is doing. Some of the nicest deer I’ve seen have been taken from state forest and gamelands,” said Fette, adding that several big racked bucks were taken off Oregon Road Monday.
Unfortunately, several violations were observed on opening day, with the most common issue being hunting over bait. Additional issues included out-of-state hunters using resident license and loaded firearms in vehicles.
Fette specifically made reference to one situation where a man, who wasn’t hunting, took his teen out to hunt over bait. He reminds sportsmen they are not only responsible for their children’s actions but should also be setting a good example through their own conduct.
“Whether it be the television and the popular hunting shows, people need to remember that just because it’s sold in a store doesn’t mean it’s legal. Bait in Pennsylvania is illegal. It seems to be a mega problem this year with the use of corn and salt blocks. We had a great acorn drop and wild grape crop this year, there’s no need to use bait,” he concluded.
Hunters having mistake kills or deer unfit for consumption are urged to immediately contact the Game Commission’s Southcentral Regional Office in Huntingdon at 814-643-1831.