(Editor's Note: This special series features hunters who have shot above-average-sized deer. Stories will be published on an ongoing basis, and hunters who would like to be included may submit their photos for consideration. Call 570-326-1551, ext. 3116, for details.)
Bob Colaneri has hunted in New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Georgia and Wyoming.
In 1976, two years out of the U.S. Air Force, he hunted in Pennsylvania for the first time and hasn't stopped since.
"I just fell in love with the area," he said. "It's such beautiful country."
That country is Jackson Summit in Tioga County, where Colaneri owns a small dairy farm and recently bagged an eight-point buck with a 21-inch inside spread. The white-tailed deer, dressed out at 160 pounds, was killed with a .30-06 rifle.
"I was very gratified when I shot it," Colaneri said. "I hadn't seen a thing over two long days of hunting. Then this buck showed up not too far from my tree stand. I didn't realize how big he was until I got down to him. Then, I knew he was the largest deer I had ever taken. I was just flabbergasted by the size of him."
Colaneri, 61, of East Rutherford, N.J., makes the nearly four-hour drive to his farm every weekend to assist a friend who runs the weekly operations.
"I don't milk the cows, but I help him with some of his young livestock," he said. "I go up there to help him hay in the summertime as well. It's something I used to do as a kid. So every summer, it brings back memories of my childhood."
The farm also is a place where Colaneri can spend time with his daughter, Jamie Lynn, of Wood-Ridge, N.J., who graduated from Penn State University with a degree in criminal justice.
"She doesn't hunt," he said. "But we've got a bass pond up at the farm where we fish together."
A lifelong outdoorsman and hunter, Colaneri owns and operates a retail store in New Jersey that sells outdoor power equipment, including snowblowers, chain saws and lawnmowers. The store, called Colaneri Brothers, was founded by his father and uncle but has its roots in his grandfather's knife grinding business, which had been based in the Lower East Side of New York City.
"Eventually the business grew to the point that the knife grinding fell by the wayside and he started selling outdoors equipment," Colaneri said. "What we have now is really a small mom-and-pop store. We sell equipment, but we also do landscaping work for some commercial accounts. I've worked here my whole life. The only time I didn't was when I was in the service."
Though committed to his hometown, Colaneri is no stranger to Williamsport. When passing through the city, he and his son, Bobby, also of Wood-Ridge, often will dine at the Bullfrog Brewery.
"Everybody is so friendly up there," he said. "At one point, my son played basketball for Penn College. Occasionally we would go to the Bullfrog Brewery and get a burger and beer together."
He also had kind words for the state Game Commission: "I know there is a lot of controversy in PA about hunting restrictions, but though the overall numbers of deer are down, we're seeing more bucks," he said. "When a buck comes out, it's usually eight points. I have to take my hat off to the Game Commission. I think they're doing a great job."
Colaneri plans to display the eight-point buck's head with a sneak mount and consume the rest.
"My wife makes a good meatloaf and stew," he said.
Colaneri has been a hunter his entire life. He's hunted rabbits, turkeys, mule deer, woodchucks and quail, just to name a few.
Asked about his most memorable hunting moment, Colaneri said, "That white-tailed deer I just shot in Jackson Summit. That is the ultimate.
"But all of my hunts are memorable, even when I don't harvest a deer. Just being out in the woods, seeing the sunset and the color of the trees, is worth it," he added.
Bob Colaneri, right, shows off the 21-inch inside spread of the eight-point buck he shot during rifle season in December in Tioga County. A lifelong hunter, Colaneri also has harvested pronghorn antelope, deer during archery season and upland gamebirds such as chukar and pheasants. In top photo, Colaneri is accompanied by his friend Scott Culmone. Of all of his hunting adventures, Colaneri says his recent buck is "the ultimate."