The PA buck opener is, in my biased opinion, one of the finest traditions our state holds. On the first Monday followin' Thanksgiving, schools and businesses around the state are shut down, realizin' the futility of dealin' with masses of "ill" students and employees. Small rural towns turn into bustlin' metropolises for a few days as the Orange Army arrives in droves. The shotgun shacks, trailers and campers that dot the roadways, that most mistake for abandoned dwellin's, come to life once again as they fill to the brim with cigar smoke, Busch cans, Crock Pots and Remington 760's. It is truly a magical time in our state.
Monday mornin' found Dad, Jess and I at our latest Openin' Day property, just down the road from camp. Joe, havin' gotten his buck in bow season, opted to stay home to take a young friend of his out to try to get his first buck.
Only two years removed from havin' a 60 degree openin' day, we were treated to an inch of snow on the ground this year. I admittedly don't get into the gun huntin' quite as much as I do with archery and muzzleloader, so I spent most of the day wanderin' around, explorin' the corners of the property for future reference. As the day wound down to a close, a shot rang out from up the hill, and a minute later, Jesse called. He had made what he thought was a good shot on a buck, but he didn't see it go down. With daylight fadin' fast, I hoofed my fat ass back up the hill and found Dad and Jess tryin' to pick up a blood trail. We were beginnin' to give up hope when Dad found a drop of blood, then a splash, then a puddle. A few yards later, I saw the white belly ahead in the twilight, and the celebration was on.
I've enjoyed a good bit of success over my huntin' career, and these days, it means the world to me to watch my family and friends have success. Jesse has two youngn's and a million obligations, and he just doesn't get the time in the woods like the rest of us do. That said, I'd have passed up a dozen world-class bucks for Jesse to get the shot that he did.
Jesse wasn't the only one to score durin' the openin' couple of days...
|Schlongie's Uncle Tony got this nice Fulton|
County six-point openin' mornin'.
|Our buddy Robert, who takes us fishin' on the|
Bay, whacked this stud in Kent County, MD.
|My cousin Nate currently leads the buck pool with this|
Day 2 brute, with over 20" outside spread.
|Cousin Danny got some lead in this beautiful|
Adams County brute, but another hunter in his
group finished the deed and got the tag.
I should have been headin' back up to camp tonight instead of typin' this, but after the move last week, and up early for huntin' and work every day this week, I decided to relax tonight and get a good night's sleep for once, then head up tomorrow. We can start to shoot doe up there on Saturday, so I anticipate a heavily-laden meat pole on Saturday night at the Full Rut camp. Maybe we'll get lucky and stumble upon a buck or two as well.