Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 10

a long lost piece of a puzzle. The deer
by itself is enough to drain the breath
from your lungs. But now that your eyes
see the "horns," there is no regaining
the breath you've lost.
You try to react, but it's over and the
deer is gone. You stare hard at the spot
where the deer once stood; a spot that
for a brief second held so much hope.
Everything now seems different. At the
same time there are both more and less
possibilities. As the buck proved, in
hunting, anything can happen.
It happens in all hunting. A turkey
appears suddenly, putts and retreats,
only to live on in our memories. Grouse
hunters approach likely looking cover,
ready, knowing what they must do at
the first sounds of a flush. And yet,
at the flush, they are left staring at a
small hole among the branches through
which the bird has disappeared forever
from sight, but not from memory.
In the beginning, days afield are
measured in terms of game seen, shots
10

taken and tags filled. In time, many
hunters reach an understanding about
what it means to be successful. As the
years pass and the hunter matures, new
measures of the hunt develop.
Shafts of sunlight, filtering down
through the forest's canopy, lighting
up a distant hillside, take the place of
game sighted. Encountering a red fox
hunting mice in a hayfield or a goshawk
cruising the timber in search of red
squirrels can more than make up for
shots not taken. And finally, tags left
unfilled are faced without regret as long
as friends and young hunters return safe
and happy from the day's hunt.
Only in one's dreams does every
buck fall before the hunter's gun; every
turkey answers the call with resounding
double gobbles and each grouse takes
wing from the grapevines only to thud
on the autumn leaves after the shot.
Watching a successful grouse hunter,
I often think that it may be the moments just after the kill that are both
the happiest and saddest. As a hunter
reaches for a fallen bird there is always a
mixture of emotions. Success is blended
with awe. The love for the bird as it
once was is not easily replaced by the
stirring of success. I've never seen a
grouse hunter pick up a fallen bird who
didn't smooth the feathers encircling
the neck, running a hand, scratched
and bleeding from the push through the
thickets that grouse call home, over the
crown of the head and down the back
with a gentle touch.
I never set out to be a hunter, but
in the end I can think of nothing better to be. Yes, I have other interests. I
enjoy fishing, hiking and skiing. But, in
reality, I do not consider myself a fisherman, a hiker nor a skier. I'm a hunter.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 12
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - A
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - B
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - Cover4
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