Still excited from shooting the bear last weekend, my son and I traveled up to camp on Wednesday, Dec. 7 to hunt the last few days of the season. As we were climbing up the mountain we went from dry leaves, to ice, to snow. There was about 2" of snow on top of the mountain, so we were very excited about the next few days. Temperatures were very cold, so we figured it would stick. My scouting in bear season revealed a huge acorn crop this fall. In fact, they were everywhere. This led me to believe the deer would head to the thick stuff the 2nd week where there was also abundant food. I knew where we wanted to hunt. We started out on Thursday morning around 7:30. My goal this week was to push something out to my son. We hadn't been able to hunt together since he left for college 7-8 years ago. I put on two drives for him and I didn't move anything, but I did see an abundance of tracks. We decided to go up on top a ridge we've often hunted during the second week where the laurel is thick. The higher we climbed, the more tracks we saw. Finally, we arrived to a spot I wanted to try. I put my son up in a tree stand, and did a large circle drive back to him. The most exciting sound I heard the entire year was when I heard his rifle crack as I was just about finishing the drive. It worked perfectly, and 20 minutes later, we were both standing over a beautiful 8-point buck that came right past his tree. I was never more proud! After lots of hand-shaking, hugging, and picture taking, we started the long drag back to camp. The snow made that job much easier. After getting back to camp and shedding some clothing, we drove up on top the mountain where we can get a cell phone signal so that he could tell the rest of the family the exciting news! That night, we enjoyed a nice dinner and relaxing evening at camp. The next morning we got to sleep in and after closing up everything for the winter, we headed home. Another successful season for the guys from Peter's Camp!
Saturday, Dec. 3 found me hunting closer to home in Perry County. The first Saturday of the season is a unique day in WMU 4B as a properly licensed hunter can hunt buck, doe, and bear on the same day. At around 8:30, I saw some movement below me. Much to my surprise, it was a nice sized black bear slipping out of the clear cut. I raised the gun and he presented a standing shot at about 150 yards. I fired my .270 and he took off running. I fired a 2nd round as he disappeared back into the clear cut. I heard a few more shots after that and assumed that someone else had gotten him. After waiting a few minutes, I started down the mountain to check on my first two shots. I was almost at the spot where he had been standing when much to my surprise, here he came again running out of the clear cut up the mountain towards me. He stopped at about 40 yards and I fired a 3rd shot. This time, he dropped. And just like that, I was standing over my first-ever PA black bear. It all happened so fast I couldn't believe it. My brother and niece arrived a few hours later and spent half of their day helping me to get him the 1.5 miles back to my truck. What a memory! At the check station the boar weighed in at 276 pounds (estimated 326 pounds live weight).
I hunted in Maryland for the traditional opening day on Saturday, November 26. I was fortunate to harvest a nice big doe around 9:00 am, so my day was short. It was nice to have some meat in the freezer. I drove to camp on Sunday, Nov. 27 and arrived around 12:00 noon. After starting the heat, I took a walk up the road. After returning to camp, I enjoyed a nice dinner and relaxing evening at camp. I'm by myself again this season for opening day. Monday came quickly and it was a very nice day to hunt. I climbed up the mountain in my usual spot and climbed up the tree to hunt for the day. I saw three deer around 10:15 that appeared to be two young ones and a doe, and that turned out to be the only deer I saw the entire day. There was very little shooting today (far less than the opening day of bear season). The weather report is calling for heavy rain the next two days, so my plan is to go home tonight and return with my son to hunt the last few days. I'm thankful that this was my 42nd consecutive opening day at camp.
I arrived at camp around 9:00 pm on November 17 for the opening of Bear Season. Saturday morning came quickly and I decided to hunt the ridge behind our camp. It was a chilly morning, but it soon warmed up to near 55-degrees. It was a beautiful day to hunt - sunny and calm...that is until around 12:15 pm. I've never seen the weather change so quickly. The wind which was coming from the SE started coming from the NW. The temperature dropped like a lead weight. A large drive began around 1:00 on the ridge across from me. Towards the end of the drive, I heard several shots. All I saw were two deer. By 3:30, the temperature had dropped to around 30 degrees and it was snowing, so I started down off the mountain. By the time I got to the road, we had about an inch of snow on the ground. I saw a large number of hunters standing at the road so I went over to see three bears that had been shot off the drive. They were all small ones. I was told another small one was shot by a hunter from one of the camps down the road. So they had shot 4 bear off that drive. The next morning, after cleaning up all the leaves at camp(which was quite a job considering they were covered with an inch of snow) I left for home anxiously awaiting the opening of deer season the following week.