Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 35

Mountain Carbine .50-caliber flintlock
muzzleloader.
Now I was carrying it on its first of
many hunts.
Smoke from cozy fireplaces drifted
up chimneys and above the farms and
homes within the sleepy village of Bethel.
Its ghostly presence revealed the winds
were out of the northwest - ideal to hunt
a favorite trail between Grandpa's field
and Pete's woods.
And the way the smoke lingered along
the ground like fog indicated rising barometric pressure and, perhaps, related deer
movement.
Three generations exited the old Chevy
farm truck.
Breath and body heat, too, looked
like smoke, foreshadowing what the day
might hold.
Literally and figuratively, I followed
the steps of my father and grandfather.
Grandpa and I were to post along the
path where a thicket funneled and opened
up into the big woods. Dad would circle
back to work the brambles and blackberries our way.
As Dad was about to leave, he simply
nodded to his own father.
A son needs more direction.
Atop the new year's first snow, Dad
reminded me, "Steady through the
smoke."
Contemplating his advice, enough time
passed to thoroughly freeze a young man.
Then, all at once, Grandpa's posture changed. The
red and black checkered
patterns of his Woolrich
seemingly froze in an alert
position. There was no doubt a
deer was approaching.
To this day, I can still close my eyes and
hear Grandpa's shot, and see the smoke
from an uncharacteristic miss. Although
JANUARY 2018

I had never before fired at a deer, I had
pictured this moment in my mind, hundreds of times. First, I noticed a small
set of antlers, like a speeding car's hood
ornament, bounding through the brush
onto the trail.
Time slowed.
My flintlock became an extension of
me, as my beating heart locked onto that
of the deer. My sights focused behind the
front leg and I touched the trigger.
If there was a loud report or a violent
kick, I do not recall.
It is the smoke I remember.
Gray plumes mixed with white wisps.
To me, the smoke never cleared. It
only took new form. A charcoal gray buck
with a white belly now lay on the family
soil. Steam rose from a bullet hole placed
through the whitetail's heart.
The 6-point that lay before us not only
was a boy's first buck, but was the first
whitetail taken by any of Grandpa's many
grandchildren, and the first deer shot by
any of Dad's three sons.
More than two decades since the
smoke faded on that January day, I have
taken many whitetails with rifle or bow.
Still, the few I have killed through the
smoke are among the most memorable
ones.
The same way that smoke works into
the fabrics of life, so, too, does the smoke
from a flintlock attach to the hunter's soul.
Just weeks ago, the first nippy day of
winter arrived.
We greeted it with coffee, hot cocoa
and a newly stoked fire.
My young son, still more a student of
words and walking than of the whitetail,
curiously pointed toward the sky.
"Moke!" he delighted, with a handsome grin.
"Someday," I promised him, "I will
teach you through the smoke."
35



Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Cover4
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