Ligonier Youth Bags 10-Point
Inside the Outdoors, Ddecember 9
, 2011

For most youngsters, grasping a weapon that has the potential of killing an animal at a far off distance may feel a bit awkward. But not to Kara Shafron who harvested a 10-point whitetail deer with a 17 and one-quarter inch spread. And what makes this extra special, this 10 year-old resident did so with a crossbow.

In addition to that, this Ligonier youth killed her first spike buck when she was nine years old, also with the same type of weapon.

Mentored by her father, John, as well as accompanied by her cousin Tim Shafron, the trio set out to Kara’s favorite hunting grounds, Jim’s Hollow, Fish Creek. There she has not only bagged deer but loves to hunt for squirrels there as well. It was on that Thursday back on Nov. 10 that the animal was spotted from 40 yards away. Kara took aim, gradually squeezing the trigger hitting the deer. This occurred just before the end of the legally permitted hunting hours of the day.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. Upon getting to the sight where the deer was shot, it was discovered that the whitetail had left the scene. It didn’t take long for the three of them to make that big decision. Despite the dark of night falling upon them, they would try to track the deer amongst the brush and the denseness of dark forest trees to see if it could be located. Sure enough, following a sparse blood trail, her dad and cousin stumbled upon the animal – at 10:30 p.m.

Not only did Kara drop her second buck, but one with a trophy rack at best..

But Kara isn’t the only one in the family, besides her dad, who loves to hunt. Her sister, Leah, has done quite well for herself, indeed. The 13 year-old also bagged a buck with a crossbow – a three-point. One can almost tell that she had proper supervision upon learning the ropes from her father as that was her third buck.

Just a few tidbits to add to the story, last year Leah got a gobbler with a 10-inch beard in addition to a five-point buck. To top it off, she was 30 yards from a bear, but couldn’t get off a good shot, so she let it go its merry way.

Both girls are the children of Mr. and Mrs. John Shafron of Ligonier.

I asked Tom Fazi, public relations director for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Bolivar, what is the age limit as to how young children can bear arms. His answer was this – “There is no minimum age. We leave it up to the parent’s discretion.”

In the Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest put out by the PGC, under the Mentored Youth Hunting Program (Kids Under 12), it reads, “The Mentored youth Hunting Program is designed to allow youngsters under 12 years of age to gain hunting experience and learn at an early age about Pennsylvania’s rich hunting heritage. It gives unlicensed youngsters the opportunity to receive one-to-one, hands-on experience and training in the field on the ethics, safety, responsibility, enjoyment and all other aspects of the hunting experience by persons who are dedicated to this pursuit. There simply is no better way to introduce a young person to hunting than with the close supervision of an adult mentor. Youngsters participating in this program do not need to have had a hunter-Trapper Education class to be eligible.”

To be eligible as a mentor, an adult accompanying the child must be licensed and 21 years of age and older.

According to the Digest, “A Mentored Youth can hunt only squirrels, groundhogs, coyotes, antlered deer and spring season turkeys.”

In addition, “A mentor is responsible and accountable for all actions of the mentored youth occurring while engaged in hunting or related activities. A mentor who causes or allows a mentored youth to engage in an unlawful act shall be punishable as the principal offender,” it states.


Plan on attending the next Forbes Trail Chapter Trout Unlimited’s monthly meeting held at the Winnie Palmer Nature Center Reserve. Dave Sewak, TU’s Marcellus Shale Field Organizer, will update the audience on current events and water testing.

The get-together will start promptly at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 21.

Access to the Reserve is via a road opposite the Dairy Queen on St. Route 981. Follow it until a red barn is reached. There is ample parking. The meeting will be held on the lower level.

Hope to see you there.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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