Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 17

a bit longer, and ended up killing a grouse during the last hour of the day. But again, it was the shot(s) not taken that had given me a full day of hunting and enabled me to enjoy one of the most beautiful days I’ve ever spent in the woods. One season back before antler restrictions I had the entire first week to hunt. It was my first deer season without my dad, who had passed away the previous April. I would never again be able to look through the woods and see him on stand. The woods would never be the same for me. Wednesday morning found me in one of Dad’s favorite spots on top of the mountain. Somehow I felt that when I was hunting in one of Dad’s beloved haunts, he was there with me. An inch or so of snow had fallen the night before, and I was on a huge rock, watching a laurel-choked bench below the brim of the mountain. The woods were beautiful with the snow, and every now and then I would glimpse a deer sneaking along the bench, but none with antlers. At a little after 9 o’clock I was debating whether or not to take a walk to warm up. In the past, my walks were usually to check on Dad and visit with him awhile. My mind was somewhere in the past, remembering Dad, when I noticed movement on the bench. Several deer were moving up toward me rather than out the ridge. Two does filtered up through the laurel, followed by a spike. Being Wednesday, I thought I was ready to fill my tag, so I got the gun ready and scoped the deer. He still had snow on his head between his ears. I could see about 2½ inches of spike sticking up through it, probably not legal. I lowered my rifle and watched as they worked their way past the rock. When they got above me a bit, the spike shook its head and the snow fell to reveal at least five inches of antler. I grabbed the gun and found him in the scope, but something kept me from squeezing the trigger. My mind raced as I tried to rationalize taking the shot. I still had most of Wednesday left and three more days APRIL 2010 (plus the last Saturday) to hunt. But, mostly, I kind of felt that my next deer would be for Dad and I wanted it to be more than a spike. As it disappeared over the ridge, I couldn’t help but think I was jinxing myself by letting him walk, and that I would end up getting skunked. The next morning I was on the same ridge, about 150 yards back from the top, in rather open woods. The snow had melted and then refrozen, making the woods extremely noisy. It was a little after 8:30 and I had seen several does at daybreak, but that was it. I was kicking myself for having let the spike pass when I heard steady footsteps behind me that sounded like a hunter. I was so sure that it wasn’t a deer that I didn’t even turn around. When I finally caught movement behind me on the edge of the ridge, I turned and saw a deer coming. It was almost glowing with the bright sun hitting it, and all I could see were ivory antlers. It was a nice 6-point. I got the gun ready and, the instant the crosshairs touched the shoulder, Dad’s .308 bellowed. The roar of the shot thundered across the ridge and echoed down the valley. I looked up and as the deer fell, so did my tears. I glanced at my watch and it was 8:43 — the exact time when, eight months earlier, Dad had passed away. The emotion of losing Dad and having to hunt without him overcame me when I realized I had taken the buck with his gun and I couldn’t show him my new trophy. Somehow, though, I felt he may have already seen the deer and perhaps had even nudged the buck from its bed and up the ridge in my direction. And could it have been his hand that had held me back from shooting the spike the day before? Maybe it had been Dad who was ultimately responsible for that shot not taken.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010

Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010
Life & Times of the Whitetail Biologist
Contents
A Chocolate-Covered Cream-Filled . . . Gobbler
The Close Call
Silent Whispers
The Shot Not Taken
Eastern Coyote
A Grandparents’ Pride, A Grandson’s Gift
In the Company of Children
A Jake for Ben
Early Bear Management
Field Notes
Conservation News
Off the Wire
Another View
The Naturalist’s Eye
Straight from the Bowstring
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Fun Game
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Life & Times of the Whitetail Biologist
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - A Chocolate-Covered Cream-Filled . . . Gobbler
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - The Close Call
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Silent Whispers
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - The Shot Not Taken
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Eastern Coyote
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - A Grandparents’ Pride, A Grandson’s Gift
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - In the Company of Children
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - A Jake for Ben
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Early Bear Management
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Off the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Lock, Stock & Barrel
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - BB1
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - BB2
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2010 - Cover4
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