Deer sea­son un­der­way in Ch­ester County

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Pete Ban­nan pban­nan@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @pe­te­ban­nan on Twit­ter

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.

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