OH DEER, IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR
Deer season underway in Chester County
Monday was the opening day of shotgun hunting season in Chester County. For Ken Gordon, founder of Gordons Sports Supply in Upper Uwchlan, it was an average day for his hunting and fishing business.
“Locally, hunting isn’t what it used to be,” said Gordon behind the counter of the store which he opened in 1978 just up the road from Marsh Creek State Park. “Development put the kibosh on it.”
Gordon said many hunters travel upstate for hunting season. Aside from Marsh Creek, it is difficult for newer hunters to find a local spot to hunt. Experienced hunters in Chester County tend to have relationships with the existing local farmers and property owners to hunt on, he said.
Gordon also said young people aren’t getting into hunting as in the past. His store has invested in a variety of alternative outdoor ac-
tivities over the years to appeal to customers, including skateboards, paintball and disk golf.
“Times change. We try different things,” Gordon said. “The problem is with kids, they get into something, then go off to college and it falls off. The next group has no interest in that sport.”
Gordon’s core business is still hunting and fishing. He has turned the business over to his sons and still foresees its viability.
“It’s a beautiful weather day with a lot of hunters out in the woods,” said Dave Mitchell, land management supervisor with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. “People are out and the deer are moving. We should have a good harvest.”
Mitchell said the deer population is healthy. He is acutely aware of human/ deer conflicts in our more populated areas.
Pennsylvania Game Commission records indicate license sales have dropped from 1.3 million in 1990 to just under 1 million in 2015. During the 2014-15 deer season (the last year records that are available), 74 percent of state hunters went out opening day with over 303,973 deer taken that season.
A number of hunters were in the woods around Marsh Creek on Monday. Populars spots included near the dam, Chalfont Road and Milford Road.
“It’s fun to come out but the deer seem to know where it is safe (from hunters) and Marsh Creek is landlocked,” said Frank Pelletier of Downingtown who was hunting in the park near Chalfont Road with his adult son, Frank.
“We saw a doe, but didn’t have a shot,” he said.
John Bailey of West Chester was out with his adult son, John P. Bailey. They took the day off from work to be together on opening day.
The two took a break dragging an 8-point buck the younger Bailey took down with one shot.
“This is tough,” said the senior John Bailey. “We had heard a couple shots earlier. I texted him ‘was that you?’ He texted back ‘no.’”
Then the younger Bailey texted his father at 9:40 a.m., saying: “That one was me.”
“I’ve gotten a few deer before but this is the largest,” the younger Bailey said. “We will use all of it. I do leatherwork and will use the hide. The heart will go in a stew and we have friends who want the liver.”
Bailey said he scouted the park in advance of the season for a good spot. He credited deer scent with attracting the deer toward him as it ran up the hill. “One shot, it went right down,” he said.
Chuck Rubbo of Chester Springs was also out at Marsh Creek hunting with his son and grandson and though none of them bagged anything, he summed it up this way: “A bad day in the woods is still better than a good day at work.”
John Bailey of West Chester and his son, John P. Bailey, haul an 8-point buck out of the woods at Marsh Creek State Park Monday morning. “I’ve got a corned venison recipe from ‘The Joy of Cooking,’ which I’m going to use to make pastrami,” said the elder Bailey.
“It’s fun to come out but the deer seem to know where it is safe (from hunters) and Marsh Creek is landlocked,” said Frank Pelletier of Downingtown, who was hunting in the park near Chalfont Road with his adult son, Frank.