HONESDALE — Hunters from all over the area were up at the crack of dawn Monday morning to kick-off PA's 2012 rifle deer campaign.
As has become tradition, the Game Commission is overseeing a 2-week season which begins the first Monday after Thanksgiving.
Last year, more than 750,000 hunters patrolled Penn's Woods in search of a prize trophy to display above the mantle. Game Commission officials are expecting a similar number this time around.
During the 2011-'12 seasons, hunters harvested an estimated 336,200 deer, which is an increase of six percent from the previous season (316,240).
Hunters took 127,540 antlered deer in the 2011-12 seasons, an increase of four percent from the previous license year's harvest of 122,930.
Also, hunters harvested 208,660 antlerless deer in last year, which is an increase of eight percent from the 193,310 taken in 2010-11.
The 2012-'13 rifle deer season runs from dawn on Monday, Nov. 26 through Saturday, Dec. 8 at dusk.
Come on Down!
The Wayne Independent and News Eagle are once again sponsoring our annual Big Buck Contest.
This is the 32nd year for the event, which this season features nearly $5,000 in overall prizes.
Entering your big buck is simple. Just come on down to our 220 Church Street offices Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and we'll take care of the rest.
Contest is open to PA hunters with a valid license who bag their deer in either Wayne or Pike county. All entries must be tagged and brought in for measurement within 48 hours of harvest.
For further information, please contact Group Sports Editor Kevin Edwards at 570-253-3055.
Page 2 of 2 - A Great Start
Our very first entrant in this year's Big Buck contest is Dennis Panfili.
A lifelong area resident and owner of Hunters Gallery in Hamlin, Dennis has been searching for that elusive trophy mount since 1958.
On Monday morning, he bagged the biggest buck of his career. Dennis harvested a huge 9-pointer while hunting in Cherry Ridge. He used a Ruger 77-44 Mag to bag the beast from a distance of about 50 yards.
"I got another 9-pointer about 12 years ago, but this one is much bigger," Dennis said with a smile. "Now, I get to go home and take a nap!"
On hand to witness the event were two of Dennis' best friends: Steve Eroh and Gene Buki.
Eroh hails from Citrus City in Florida and drove more than 1,000 miles to help out his old friend.
"I wouldn't have missed it for the world," Steve said. "That's one of the nicest bucks I've ever seen."
Buki is from Cherry Ridge and lent a hand in dragging the beast out of the woods.
"It was quite a feat getting it up into the truck," Gene said. "This is a really nice deer."
Panfili's big buck sports nine points and a span that measures more than 21". The left beam is 23" and the right comes in at 24".