Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - 36

I

Slaying My Lion

HAVE a half-dozen or so Robert Ruark books in my library at home, and
one of my favorites is Use Enough Gun. In it, the well-known author writes,
"When you are out in the bush for any considerable length of time, you do not
remember days by date or week or weather. You reach backward to the day of the
buffalo or the day of the lion."
While Ruark was referring to Africa, it's like that when you look back on your
days hunting in Penn's Woods, too. You have vivid memories of special events, but
might not remember the specific date or even the year they occurred.
Events like harvesting your first buck.
Try as I might, spending a lot of time hunting and wanting it more than anything,
it took me nine years after I turned 12 to get a buck.
I couldn't tell you the date without looking it up, but I remember it like it was
yesterday. And unlike Ruark's description, I vividly remember the weather.
Buck season opened with one of those soaking rains when even the money in
your wallet gets damp.
My dad and I were hunting out of the camp we had then, just outside of the
Allegheny National Forest in Forest County.
At least 20 minutes after legal hunting hours, the dark morning finally gave
enough light to see through the gloomy woods, and out of the sheets of rain came
four deer running directly toward me. I hadn't heard any shooting, but someone
obviously had spooked them.
One of the deer had a small rack, and there was no requirement to count antler
points back then. But the tricky part was trying to get a shot at him without hitting
one of the does. Finally, the deer stopped, seemingly confused about which way
to go, and the buck separated enough to allow a clear shot at its shoulder. After
pulling the trigger of the .30-06, the deer hightailed it to a patch of laurel and disappeared as quickly as they'd appeared. For a few seconds, I had to make sure I
hadn't been dreaming.
With shaking hands and wobbly legs, I went to where I last saw the deer, then
went another 50 yards before spotting a patch of white, which shone brightly against
the dark, soggy leaves on the ground. It was the belly of a deer. When I got closer, I
didn't spot a rack, and for a few panicked seconds thought I might have mistakenly
shot one of the does. Turns out the buck was lying in a depression, and I couldn't
see the rack. I was elated when I lifted the buck's head to reveal a 4-point rack.
That hunt occurred nearly 40 years ago, and although most wouldn't think it
was as exciting as Ruark's lion hunt, it was plenty of adventure for a young guy
who had yearned so long for his first buck.
I had "slayed my lion."

Bob D'Angelo

36



Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - 2
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - Cover4
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