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  • by Steve Sorensen

Opening Day Pennsylvania, 2016

Today was the opening day of the Pennsylvania rifle season. My eye surgery this fall caused me to miss the entire archery season, but I made up for it today with this buck. He strolled by at 1:55 PM on the way to a bedding area. He was the only deer I saw.

When I first saw him I knew he was a buck. When I realized he was a shooter I thought I might get a shot opportunity. He was in some really thick stuff and I could barely see him. Only one opening was ahead. When he hit it I hit the trigger. I didn't see him go down, but I thought I heard the bullet hit.

He is a pretty good 8-point, but what is unusual is that he has a severe underbite. Some people call it "parrot jaw." Deer with this abnormality as also known as a "dork deer." He field dressed at 120 pounds, making him much easier to drag than last year's 190 pound buck. Plus, he walked to the top of the hill for me, so I had to go through about 100 yards of thick stuff, and then it was mostly downhill.

I've hunted this spot four times on opening day. The first time was in 2011. I took my nephew and saw nothing.

2012 -- I saw two bucks and a doe. One of the bucks was a 10-point and I shot him at 7:30 AM.

2015 -- I saw two bucks, and shot one of them at 11:00 AM, a 190-pound 6-point with 17" main beams.

2016 -- I saw one deer, this buck, and shot him at 1:55.

That's only 6 deer in three opening days, five were bucks, and I shot three of them. I guess you don't need to see a lot of deer if you see the right one.

The shots were not especially easy. The 2012 buck was about 80 yards away, and I had to shoot offhand. The 2015 buck was 140 yards away and I had to make a quick shot. The 2016 buck was only 50 yards away, but I could hardly see him and needed to get a bullet through the brush with no time to hesitate. Fortunately, I was able to make the shot all three times.

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