Mary Ellen Shugart had lots of help unloading her opening-day buck onto the scales at Chuck Rothlingshofer's C&C Taxidermy Studio.
"I can taste tomorrow's venison chili already," she boasted good-naturedly as Jim Horne balanced the scale at 133 pounds.
Shugart, who was sharing a special two-person tree-stand with her husband on a farm within shouting distance of the Manchester area deer checking station, told me that the handsome young whitetail buck came within range of her left-handed Remington 700 BDL bolt action .30-06 rifle while her husband was sound asleep.
"I gave him a nudge, put the cross-hairs on the buck's shoulder, and that was that. I told him his snoring had grunted the buck into range for me."
Don't think this was a lucky shot for a first-time hunter. Shugart had just returned from a Montana hunt with her husband where she bagged a 10-point whitetail. This Carroll County buck was her third deer this fall.
Bucks that Richard and Steve Ropka checked into C&C Taxidermy Studio were the first of the year for the brothers. Richard, who lives in Westminster, took bragging rights with the best rack -- a beautiful seven points. Steve's four-pointer hit the scales at 120 pounds. The bucks were taken minutes apart off a property near Bixler's Church Road.
Steve, who had come from Edgewood to share the hunt with his brother, was hunting from a tree stand. Richard bagged his 115-pounder from a ground stand.
Horne, who manned the scales, said that "most of the deer are in the 90-pound range, and they seem to be coming in at about the same rate as last year."
"We had more than 50 by 10 o'clock," noted Chuck Rothlingshofer, "and a lot of the trucks coming in are carrying two hunters and a like number of bucks."
A few of the better trophies checked into C&C last Saturday included Jeff Rohrbaugh's 149-pound eight-pointer, an eight-point 119-pounder bagged by John Bechtal, and Duane McMillan's 122-pound seven-pointer. Another handsome trophy was an eight-pointer weighing 142 pounds that Lineboro's David Warner bagged.
Wayne Albaugh's streak of eight consecutive years of filling his deer tag remained intact when he shot a 125-pound buck outside of Uniontown. Jack Lovell, who was hunting with Albaugh on opening day, got a 115-pounder a short while later.
Throughout the season's first week, Carroll hunters have been limited to taking antlered bucks only. Tomorrow and through the conclusion next Saturday of the modern firearms season, hunters are allowed to harvest either a buck or doe.
Hunters who already have taken a deer during this two-week season, may bag a second deer by purchasing a bonus deer stamp.
Tim Flannery, who guns both sides of the Maryland-Pennsylvania border for grouse and woodcock, reports great shooting on both throughout Western Maryland this year. He particularly recommends the area just north of Cumberland.
At the Millington Wildlife Management Area, on the Eastern Shore, woodcock hunters are beginning to see a repeat of last winter's incredible hunting, which insiders called the best they had ever experienced in Maryland.
Also, when the duck season reopens Dec. 16, old hands predict the best shooting in more than 20 years.
Pub Date: 12/08/96