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More Hunters for Early Start of Deer Season

December 1, 2019

More Hunters for Early Start of Deer Season

By Joe Sylvester – For Times Leader November 30, 2019

HUNLOCK CREEK — Bill Weiss, of Harding, thought the first Saturday opening of buck season brought out a lot more hunters.

While other hunters bringing their kills into Naugle’s Custom Butchering and Deer Processing on Saturday may have differed, none seemed to mind the sunny cool morning out in the woods, especially those who shot a buck.

“It was definitely different,” said Weiss, 53, who shot a 10-pointer while hunting with his 21-year-old daughter in Falls early Saturday. “There were a lot more people. It’s great for the sport. There were a lot more with kids, a lot more than I’ve ever seen before.”

James Eustice, of Warrior Run, liked the traditional Monday start of the season.

Eustice, 51, who got his deer during archery season but was out in the woods with his wife, Carleen, 53, said, “I didn’t see a lot of hunters.”

It was a good day for Carleen, who shot a seven-pointer, in Luzerne County. They didn’t want to specify where.

“It was my first,” she said.

Leroy Ogin, 53, of Wapwallopen, who bagged an eight-pointer, was more accepting of the Saturday opening, which added an extra day to the two-week rifle season.

“You gotta change with tradition,” said Ogin, who shot his antlered deer in the Wapwallopen area.

Kevin Naugle, owner of Naugle’s Custom Butchering, liked the Saturday opening.

“The weather’s going to be nice,” he said as his workers skinned and hung the carcasses of some of the two dozen or so deer brought in before 11 a.m. “Never fear change. A lot of guys work six days a week.”

Meanwhile, the hunters interviewed and Naugle did not seem worried about the Chronic Wasting Disease affecting some Pennsylvania deer, mostly in the southern portions of the state.

“Triple E is a lot worse than Chronic Wasting Disease,” said Naugle, referring to Eastern Equine Encephalitis, known as Triple E, a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes. The disease is fatal to about a third of all people infected or can cause disabling neurologic problems such as intellectual impairment, seizures and paralysis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said there have been only 200 reported cases of Chronic Wasting Disease in the state.

“It hasn’t hit this area yet,” Naugle said. James Eustice said he was concerned about a deer who could hardly stand when it was seen in a friend’s yard in the area. A game warden had to come and shoot the animal. Eustice didn’t know the reason for the deer’s condition.

Ogin said he was not so much concerned right now about CWD, “because it’s not in this area.”

Weiss said, “The deer looked perfectly healthy. They all walked OK.”

Rifle deer season runs through Dec. 14. Hunters can also shoot antlerless deer beginning this coming Saturday.