SWEET VALLEY – Patience paid off in a big way for Erica Zimmerman.
Resisting the urge to get out of the cold this year, Zimmerman decided to just chill out for 5½ hours.
And as a result, the Lake Twp. woman walked out of the opening day of deer season with her first buck.
This is the first year I had the most patience, Zimmerman, 38, said. Usually, by the time my feet get cold, I'm walking out of there.
Monday's favorable weather conditions on a clear, crisp day with temperatures in the mid-30s, may have played a part in a large number of hunters taking a foray into the woods.
A lot of hunters out there, said WCO Gerald Kapral. A number of deer were harvested.
By 5 p.m., 43 bucks were tagged at the Sweet Valley check station – a significant improvement over last year according to director Chris Denmon.
We got some nice bucks this year, said Denmon, who had a 13-point buck, a couple of 11-pointers and a few 10s hanging from his hook throughout the day. Last year's (opening day) was a little down, that was because of weather conditions. It was rainy and foggy. This morning, cars were lined up (to size deer kills) out on the road.
Not everyone took the straight road to bag their game.
WCOs were forced to issue citations for an alarming number of mistake shots.
I got more (incidents) by 12 (p.m.) than I've ever had, Kapral said. I don't know what to attribute that to.
Only a buck sporting three points on one side of its head is fair game during buck season, Kapral explained. Also, a doe that escaped from a quarantined deer farm in Adams County was shot Monday in New Oxford and is now being tested for Chronic Wasting Disease, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission also issued citations for other types of illegally-killed deer.
We always get reports of baiting violations, said Bill Williams of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. I cited an individual this morning.
Along with that, WCO Dave Allen said he received reports of safety zone violations and one trespassing violation.
I don't know if guys are going down in areas that are hard to get to, Allen said, (but) guys are going where they don't have permission to be.
But overall, Kapral said, It's been pretty quiet for the number of hunters we've had out there.
Zimmerman went out at 6:30 a.m. looking for number one.
She set up in a legalized hunting area behind her home to claim her prized kill – an 8-point buck that weighed in at 130 pounds. She waited in the chilly temperatures until around 11:30 a.m. to claim it.
Although Zimmerman brought home her first doe this past archery season, she said she was equally proud of bagging her first buck in a sport she took up three years ago.
You know, I got to sit around and listen to a number of my husband's stories and his friends' stories, Zimmerman said. I said, ‘If you can't beat them, join them.'
Once again, Dale Raspen of Sweet Valley joined the hunting fun. After 35 years of hunting and what he termed A lot of deer takes, the 47-year-old wasn't doing somersaults over this latest kill.
But the buck was.
Raspen said he pulled the trigger on his high-powered rifle and watched the 8-pointer he shot Monday go head over heels a couple of times.
Then it went right down, Raspen said. When you hit it with a 4570, it flips right over and doesn't move. It dropped right down.
It's a big gun.
Which was a fitting way to kick off the first day of deer season.
With the good weather, Williams said, hunters tend to stay in the woods a little longer. That increases their chances of getting a deer.