Derry Hunter Given Gift
Inside the Outdoors, December 03, 2010

Recently, while I was doing some food shopping, I bumped into long-time friend, Daniel Bates, who was scurrying through the store. He stopped momentarily to tell me about the deer he killed while two Wildlife Conservation Officers were watching him. “That never ever happened to me before,” he said.

He began, “I don’t have much time, but I can tell you this,” and he hit upon some highlights of his excursion first day deer rifle season Monday, Nov. 29.

“I was with some friends, and we were walking up Hidden Valley Road in Darlington, and in front of us we saw one deer lying down and two does beside it. So, we decided to continue on to hunt someplace else,” I was told.

“We then decided to head back when we couldn’t see any bucks and came upon that road again and headed down in the direction from which we came.”

Here is where the story became a bit extraordinary.

“We looked down and saw a truck from the Pennsylvania Game Commission blocking the road. So we decided to go down and talk to the driver. We enjoyed our conversation with WCOs Steve Leiendecker and Clyde Gouker,” Bates said. “As we were talking, we were told that the PGC received a telephone call and were dispatched to locate an injured deer in this area.”

The Derry resident now knew why the deer was not standing as the others were.

“Where we were walking bordered a game preserve. The injured deer, a button buck, was partially over the line in the preserve,” according to Bates. The land to which the middle-aged hunter was referring belonged to a private landowner, which was posted. Some sportsmen call these areas game preserves.

Then WCO Leiendecker said to Bates, “Would you like to harvest this animal and take it with you?” Bates said, “Sure!” The he exclaimed, “Then I got out my pistol and killed the deer.”

WCO Leiendecker wrote out a special permit so that Bates could shoot and kill the animal. “By doing this, the hunter does not need to use up one of his permits which he applied for,” the officer said.

He went on to say, “We go to great lengths to see to it that harvested deer such as this one go to good homes. I even have a list that I have made as a result of people calling in and wanting freshly killed venison. We do not like to see meat wasted.” I asked him about road kill. “Only if deer have been dead for long periods of time do we dispose of them otherwise,” I was informed.

Bates happily remarked, “This is the first time I could shoot a deer in a preserve with two men from the Game Commission looking over my shoulder!”

And what happened to the “gift” the local hunter received? “My wife and I ate part of it for dinner that night. Boy was it good!”


Long time friend John Stewart sent me an email recently relating three incidents that came to his mind in reference to deer season.

He said, “I talked to one hunter who told me about an experience. It was a rainy day so he was wearing a rubber rain suit. Apparently it kept his scent in because a doe walked right up to him and stood there observing him. He stayed absolutely still to see what she would do. She sniffed, noisily, and went through her whole routine to try to get him to move. Soon she moved in closer and nudged his stomach a couple of times with her nose. Finally he jumped and shouted. She spun around, charging headfirst into a tree, fell to the ground, thrashed around a bit, got up and WALKED away somewhat unsteadily! By this time, the two hunters were laughing themselves silly. Deer are supposed to be very graceful animals. Maybe this one was the awkward sister.”

Second, “When I was hunting near Emporium, I was eating a bologna sandwich while sitting on a stump. A doe came up behind me, stuck her head over my shoulder and sniffed the sandwich. She departed abruptly when I told her that she couldn’t have a bite! I guess she was greatly offended by my lack of charity.”

Saving the best for last, the Latrobe resident said, “I was in the Deer Control Tower most all day, yesterday (Monday, first day deer rifle season). When I got home, Debbie wanted a report. I told her that I’d seen six deer, four does, one legal buck and one unknown. She wanted to know why I hadn’t shot it if it was a legal buck. I told her that I was afraid that the fellow dragging it might get upset with me. She thought that that was a good reason.”

- Paul J. Volkmann
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