Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 18

with towering mature white oaks.
After what seemed like an eternity of
shivering in the rain and watching the gray
dawn finally fade to daylight, Dad finally
looked at his watch and said, "Startin'
time. You can load up, boy."
For the next couple of hours, we
listened to a barrage of shots coming from
the opposite hillside. I began to feel antsy.
Why hadn't Dad set us up over there?
As if in answer to my unspoken question,
my father suddenly pointed to a spot on
the floor of the shallow valley below us
and whispered, "Third one's a legal buck."
Three forms were slinking from behind
one white oak trunk to another, seeming
always to stop with their vitals obstructed.
Finally the moment came but it didn't.
The buck stopped between some trees,
offering me a clear shot, but I was shaking
hard. Even though propped against a solid
old oak, I just couldn't steady my iron
sights enough for a sure kill.
The window of opportunity closed
with the buck suddenly bounding after
the two does and out of sight.
My dad grinned and slapped me hard
on the back.
"Never look back and regret a shot you
chose not to take. Good judgment makes
for a good hunter."
To this day, I still marvel at how my
dad knew precisely the right thing to say
to a disappointed kid.

Later that afternoon, almost the same
scenario occurred. This time, with my
dad encouraging me to concentrate on
my breathing, I got a small 8-point that
dropped immediately after my shot.
My .32 Special had come through.
Only later, when I was dragging the
buck back to the Jeep, my tag proudly
18

flopping from the right ear, did I begin to
ponder why I hadn't seen my dad shoulder
his gun even once that day.
I've often been asked why I use the .32
when a .30-30 can do anything the .32 can
do. My answer, "Why change?"
The old rifle has spent many days in
the woods with me, through my teenage
and college years, through the nearly 40
years I had my veterinary practice when
I could get out only a day or two a season
to hunt, and now into retirement.
But in spite of the many whitetails
the old Marlin has accounted for over
the years, when I look at the battered,
bleached walnut stock, the thing my mind
settles on most is not the trophies taken,
rather the memories of those with whom
I've spent days afield, and of hard lessons
learned.
The old gun was with me on many
a snowy cold crisp opening day spent
watching mountainsides with my dad and
younger brother when they were alive.
When my boys came of age and we
shivered in the damp gloom under an
aromatic hemlock, scanning the woods as
the cold rain changed to ice crystals and
pelted the wet leaves on the ground around
us, my old Special was always cradled in
my arms as we stood watch.
More recently, the old gun was carried
as I witnessed my granddaughter's
excitement during her first deer hunt, and
her glee at spotting her first buck.
All of these treasured moments are
there to be vividly relived if I but pause,
close my eyes, and silently trace the
contours of that weathered walnut.
Some of my younger friends have
suggested that I should treat myself to a
new rifle for my remaining years.
I won't do it.
My .32 Winchester nothin' special is
special enough for me.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - Intro
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 1
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2015 - Cover4
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