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Firearms Deer Season Not Far Away

Well, it won’t be long until another firearms deer season is underway; Nov. 27 marks the starting date across the state. With the exception of WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D antlered deer only can be taken from opening day to Dec. 1 while both antlered and antlerless may be taken from Dec. 2-Dec. 9. Preparations are well underway for the big opener — gear and equipment are being readied, and the gun of choice will be sighted in just to make sure.

Without a doubt, the vast majority of hunters will take to the woods on opening day with their favorite rifle, and over the years I have been no exception to that rule. My trusty .308, Model 88 Winchester in lever action has accompanied me on many a hunt, including an elk and bear hunt in Montana. Deer hunting these days in Pennsylvania, however, offers a number of other choices besides a rifle. As an artist and illustrator for Pennsylvania Game News Magazine, I was forced to give some serious thought recently to the various weapons of choice when it comes to taking a deer.

My assignment was to illustrate a story of a hunter who killed four deer, all with the required tags in a single season with four different weapons. A doe was taken with a flintlock in that season, a nice antlered buck was taken with a compound bow during the archery season, another doe was shot with a rifle, and finally, a doe was taken with a .357 revolver. After illustrating the article, I wondered how many other hunters have ever done that same thing in a single season. It finally dawned on me that I have actually taken deer with all of those weapons but not in a single season but rather spread out over a number of different seasons and years.

Like a lot of other hunters, I have taken deer with a recurve and a compound bow as well as a flintlock and several different rifles, but the one that eluded me for years was a revolver. There were years that I would have my .44 Magnum strapped to my side, but I also carried my .308 rifle. My thought being, I would use the revolver and only use the rifle if “I really had to”. Well for some reason when that deer showed up I always felt it was necessary to opt for the rifle. Finally one year I convinced myself to leave the rifle at home — now my only choice was the 44 with open sights — I figured I was at least good out to 40 or 50 yards.

I was perched up in a treestand late in the season when about mid-morning a nice sized doe walked completely unsuspecting within 25 yards of my position. I took careful aim and dropped the doe with a single shot. Finally, I had added the revolver to my list of weapons for successfully taking a deer.
Maybe the moral of the story is, if you want to be successful with a revolver don’t allow yourself any other choices. Whatever your gun or bow of choice is, I wish the best of luck to all deer hunters in the coming weeks and above all hunt safely.

By the way, speaking of deer hunting, The Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Watsontown is offering a free Sportsman’s Breakfast on Sat. Nov. 18 at 8:30 a.m. at the Activity Center behind the church. Wildlife photographer Dick Hess will be offering a program showing the development of deer antlers using a captive deer over a period of weeks. I will also be doing a presentation that’s deer hunting related following the breakfast. Please come out and say hello and enjoy a free breakfast. If you plan to attend, it’s important to call or email the church so they can plan for the breakfast. Contact information is: 570-538-9432 or email:

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