Deer season opens in Bradford County
It was the opening day of deer season here in Bradford County and local meat cutting businesses can attest to how busy this season can be in throughout the area.
At Bryan's Meat Cutting of East Smithfield, employee Nick Bryan reported that the amount of deer brought to the business for processing was average, as of just before 5:30 p.m., but he added that the night was early.
Mike Debach, co-owner of Leona Meat Plant, Inc. in the East Troy area, said the amount of deer brought there for processing seemed "about on par, about normal."
He reported that some deer with decent-size point spreads were turned in, including one that was "pretty good size." It was a 12-pointer.
Debach said the Troy area is a good place for deer hunting.
Mike Barna of Wind Gap, Northampton County, Pa., who was at the Leona Meat Plant on Monday, said he was able to shoot an eight-point deer on private land, in the Mt. Pisgah area, around 7:20 a.m. He had heard the deer crunching in the snow behind him.
He liked hunting in the Troy area, because it has more woodlands than the Wind Gap area, where he said housing projects and industrial development are encroaching on the woods. As a result, he noted that hunting is more crowded in the Wind Gap area. He's been hunting in Bradford County on an annual basis for the past 15 years.
At Moose's Munchies in Troy, employees were wearing camouflage shirts for the occasion.
Megan Frankenberger, an employee at the restaurant, said that business was light, however.
With all the optimal deer hunting conditions Monday, she said, "the weather was too nice to come in and eat."
"If it was pouring ran, we would be busy," she commented.
At Harkness Family Restaurant on Route 6 in the Towanda area, an employee said that the restaurant was packed with hunters at 4:30 a.m. It was also busy at lunch, she said.
In Troy Borough, a sign at Tygart Beverage had a "Welcome Hunters" message.
As busy as the day was Travis Lau, press secretary with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said he wasn't aware of any accidents on opening day in Bradford County.
When asked how he expected the hunting season to go with the late start, he said, "I guess we'll have to wait and see."
"Early and late-starting seasons have been a mixed bag historically, and it's likely that other factors have a bigger impact than a late or early start does," he commented. "That said, we do not begin to tabulate the deer harvest until sometime after the firearms season ends. All things being equal, we project a season that's similar to last year. We have about the same number of hunters, and deer populations are either stable or increasing in most of the state. The opening day seemed to have some fairly decent weather in most of the state too."
He didn't have any information about Monday's harvest in Bradford County.
"Overall, Bradford County is a little tricky to comment about because there are three wildlife-management units (WMUs) that cover Bradford," he said in an email. "We manage deer at that local, WMU level. And those three WMUs that include parts of Bradford also include many other counties. That said, we're tracking deer populations as stable in two of those WMUs (3A and 3B), and populations as increasing in 3C, which includes most of northern Bradford. The deer harvest in 3C has increased for several consecutive years. But it will be many weeks until we have harvest numbers from this year. I can tell you Bradford County has gained a reputation for turning out trophy-class bucks in recent years, and there were many new entries from Bradford County that made their way into the Pennsylvania Big Game Records book this year (2012 harvests)."
In the competitive aspect of the sport, Ron VanNess was the winner of the Big Buck contest.