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A list of important hunting dates to remember in for the 2019-20 winter season. John Buffone, jbuffone@ydr.com

Opening day brought forth more hunters than I expected, and a good number of bucks were harvested. Although I saw quite a few antlerless deer, not a single buck crossed by my blind, hidden at the edge of a woodlot.

My wife, on the other hand, observed a single buck, and a myriad of doe. The buck was apparently a fork horn, with only two-points per side, rather than the necessary “three-up” on one side.

 “I watched him for over a half-hour,” she told me, “I just couldn’t see another point.”

She absolutely did the right thing, by passing on the only buck either of us saw on the Saturday opener.

It was brisk and overcast, with temperatures hovering near freezing the entire day. I consider this type of weather to be near perfect for the start of deer rifle season. However, I must admit to being disappointed when there was not a single buck among the fourteen deer I counted.

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Patience pays off

Brad Eyler, a native of Dillsburg, is one of the better hunters I know, and he does a lot of preseason scouting in an effort to find at least one decent buck. As usual, I was not surprised when he called and told us he had harvested his buck early on the first morning. He hunted an area in northern York County. He prefers the challenge of finding a larger, “trophy buck,” and passed on what most would consider a “good” legal buck shortly after shooting time began. However, it didn’t end there, Brad actually passed on a second buck a few minutes later.

“I knew there was a better buck in the area, so I just waited,” he said with a huge smile. “There were a lot of hunters in the area, as I was virtually surrounded by florescent orange. Knowing the deer go into the thick stuff, I hoped the pressure from those other hunters would force the deer to find cover.”

Sure enough, a 10-point came down the same trail as the previous two, and at 6:52 a.m., Brad’s patience was rewarded. Even though deer season is now over for Brad, he continues to watch for deer wherever he goes.

Still Ruttin’

On Sunday, while talking with a friend from our church, I found out that less than ten miles away from where Brad had harvested his buck, two other hunters were lucky enough to do the same. One man found two bucks sparring, which means that the rut must still be going on. Eventually, a spike bedded beneath his tree stand, and he had to sit there and wait for close to three-hours. Finally, the it got up and wandered away.

That’s when he decided to make his move. And when he did, he saw the two bucks fighting.  He waited, and when they stopped for a moment, he took aim at the larger of the two, which was a nice seven-point. 

Granted, all of those bucks came from private land. However, the preliminary deer report of those harvested on the first day were mostly nice 6 to 8 points, or better. By noon on Monday, the woods were quiet, lending some credence that a day and a half is the time most hunters are afield. 

Show me the doe

This past Saturday began the second week of the season, and proved quite interesting. Hunters were able to take a buck or a doe, which had the deer moving. More hunters in the field push the deer into areas where they can feel less pressure. However, on that Saturday, I heard much less shooting than I expected.

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As we head into the final days of the season, it will be hard to predict the outcome.

It takes much time and patience as we all know, and you can’t bag a deer by sitting on your couch. 

As I write this, the calendar shows there are less than two weeks until Christmas. With all the hustle and bustle of the season, the deer woods are a place to seek a little peace and quiet. I know we enjoy just getting out there. 

With that, we wish you and yours a very special Christmas.

Dave Wolf may be reached by email: wolfang418@msn.com

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