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Hunts so far this season yield quality but not quantity

The first week of firearms deer season saw some trophy harvests, for sizes/stats and for first-time takes.

Opening day on Nov. 21 at the Department of Environmental Conservation Holland Check Station saw few deer through, but two hunters pulled in with trophy racks that any area hunter would like to have on a favorite wall.

Brian Hahn, 27, of Pendleton, arrived at midafternoon with a nine-point buck he took at Friendship at 11 a.m. The buck was chasing a doe at the time Hahn took his shot. He hunted at Cold Spring with his bow on Friday, the last day of archery season, and took a doe.

Many an 8-, 9- or 10-point buck comes through the check station each year, but the 4.5-year-old Hahn buck with one low brow tine raised eyebrows of all who looked into the back of his truck that afternoon. Its widely spanned beams gapped more like a mule deer or young caribou than a whitetail deer; DEC officials measured the inside antler span at 24 inches.

“I’d only gotten mainly doe with my bow and my first deer was a spike buck, so when I first saw this deer I knew it would be my personal best,” Hahn said. His other personal trophy came last year with the harvesting of a coyote. A taxidermist friend in Akron is going to do his deer in a shoulder mount.

Minutes later, Shawn Hediger, 38, of Sardinia, brought in a 10-pointer. The deer was taken with a shotgun at 3 p.m. that afternoon. Its dressed-out weight went 170 pounds, which Gary Klock, DEC wildlife technician, estimated its live weight to be above 200 pounds.

But the most impressive feature of this 6.5-year-old buck was its near-perfect symmetry and antler mass that could score green points above 150; no score was taken, but its inside span measured 23.5 inches and the G2s and G3s (inside antlers) were thick and lengthy.

“I’ve been hunting every year since age 16, this is my personal best and I’m going to have it done at S&S Taxidermy in Springville,” Hediger said.

Russ Morgan of Arcade patiently waited for what he later called “my decorum biggest buck.” Hunting near home he got a clear, clean shot at a 10-point buck at 7:21 a.m. on opening day of gun season.

He took a 200-yard shot with his Savage 7mm08 rifle, and the deer was tagged the first hour of the hunt; however, getting his trophy took some selective patience. He wrote, “We had 400-plus trail camera photos for the last two years, and I passed on this buck multiple times last gun season.”

His persistence paid off. The buck’s beautifully spanned antlers measured a green score of 145.

Cheryl Schenne, a hunter certification instructor, enjoyed hunting with her dad and her own harvests, but when her daughter, Lorrie Lux, 33, of West Falls, took her first buck, Schenne wrote, “I have never been so thrilled in my life.” She added, “Lorrie has always been a better shot than me, but she didn’t show any interest in hunting until this past year.”

Lorrie took her certification course last spring and mom and daughter were in a stand at 6 a.m. opening morning on family property in Perrysburg. Trophies come in all sizes, and shot opportunities come in many ways.

Mom took pride in seeing that Lorrie held off on a shot at a fork-horn (4 pointer) for lack of a clean shot. Almost immediately after that, a 3-point buck came through and her buck fever subsided enough for a quick, killing shot. This first buck/deer goes beyond weights, measures and scoring as a personal trophy.

“Our entire family was so proud of her,” mom wrote after the hunt.

Seasonal prospects

First weekend results at the DEC Check Station were slightly lower on numbers, with two outstanding trophy bucks checked. Only two doe deer were brought in for donation and just one bear dressed out at 37 pounds was checked in two days.

Reasons for low numbers abound. Nice weather Saturday and predicted for Sunday plus no Bills game on Sunday could have kept hunters at camp through the weekend. Along with weather, moon phases and deer movement could be a factor.

Experts of late have posited a theory that the monster bucks taken at ages 4, 5, 6 and older are males with low testosterone and, hence, less likely to be seen and shot while chasing doe deer during the mating season.

Gary Klock nodded but added that deer develop a sense about the hunting season. “They learn to move around (eat and mate) mainly during the night and then they are not seen during the day,” Klock noted.

Deer had every chance to move around, see, and do things during this first week of deer season under a full moon that shone brightly through each night. Once moon phases darken, movement and deer sightings could improve during daylight hours. Gun season continues to Dec. 13.

Good luck out there.

email: odrswill@gmail.com