Hunters: Deer season is off to a slow start

MANSFIELD – Gramma’s Kitchen’s lunch room was packed, nothing unusual for a Monday afternoon, but there was a lot of orange and camo in the mix of regulars.

Monday was the first day of rifle deer season, and a dozen hunters at the scene said they had seen a lot of deer, but none yet had bagged a buck.

While waiting for his lunch to be served, Michael Liberi, of Washington Township, N.J., said he saw seven deer, mostly doe, and his hunting buddy Thomas Formisano saw 16 deer, but only one was a small buck.

Both are after a buck, but it was too far away to get a shot off, Formisano said.

Hunting white-tailed deer is an annual event for the two, who come to a cabin in the Galeton area.

The weather at sunrise, Liberi said, was “cold and icy, but there was no wind,” which is “pretty good” weather for hunting.

“When it’s windy (deer) tend to hunker down and not move around a lot,” he said, adding that “they were running out of the woods today.”

Formisano said he also had seen some bear and coyote tracks.

According to the state Game Commission website, the preliminary report for last week’s rifle bear season showed 2,308 bruins taken across the state.

The two were hunting off the Spencer Hill Road, in Richmond Township.

A family seated at a booth also ordering lunch had been out hunting in the morning, but didn’t plan on going back out.

Brent Reese, and his son, Ryan, 15, and Ryan’s cousin Nate Harding, all of Wellsboro, were hunting in the Lamb’s Creek area Monday morning and saw “a lot of hunters,” but only two doe.

They also only had buck licenses.

“It was really cold,” Harding said.

Brent Reese scoffed that the boys “expected the deer to run out of the woods and jump into their laps.”

Nate, who got his first deer, an eight-point buck, last year, said “that’s practically what happened last year.”

“They lost their enthusiasm,” Brent Reese said.

At a table and a booth, a group of hunters from New Jersey, hunting on a farm in Roseville owned by friend, Ivan Trantham, were getting set to head back into the woods.

Bill Laxton, of Audubon, N.J., said they had seen “two to three dozen” deer but none had gotten a buck.

“The funny thing is, this year, we’ve seen black and albino deer,” said Ted Vengenock, of Salem Township.

The men have come to Tioga County to hunt for 13 years.

“We’ve seen a lot of coyotes,” Vengenock added.

The statewide general firearms season runs from Dec. 2-14.

In many parts of the state, properly licensed hunters may take either antlered or antlerless deer at any time during the season.

In other areas, hunters may take only antlered deer the season’s first five days, with the antlerless and antlered seasons then running concurrently from the first Saturday, Dec. 7,. to the season’s close, according to state Game Commission.

For more information, see the 2013-14 Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest, available online at the Game Commission’s website,