LIGONIER (KDKA) — Hunters took to the woods bright and early Monday morning.
It wasn’t exactly the weather they had hoped for; but it was a little colder than last year, which was helpful.
You could tell it was the first day of the season; deer began piling up early at Hoffer’s Meat Processing outside of Ligonier in Westmoreland County.
“It’s been busy. It’s been pretty steady since about 9:30 [a.m.]; although, I mean if you shoot ‘em at seven o’clock to get out of the woods and stuff takes about that long to get here,” said Mark Zimmerman, the owner of Hoffer’s Meat Processing.
An estimated 750,000 hunters hit the woods in search of deer on the first day of the two-week firearm season.
For Andrew Stipcak of Black Lick, success came early. He got an 11-point buck, an impressive get especially since it was his first.
“It kinda just walked out of the woods, and the first shot, I actually missed and it just stood there,” said Stipcak. “It didn’t move, and the second shot, I hit it in the back and. Now, I have this buck today.”
Success also came early for Mark Downey who has been hunting for decades.
He got a 10-point buck, and plans to hit the woods again this weekend in search of a doe.
“This is my favorite time of year; it is,” said Downey, of Ligonier. “I look forward to deer season.”
For many hunters, it’s a day to spend with family.
“It’s something we’ve done for a long time and it’s a good chance to get together as a family,” said John Murphy of Churchill. “It’s more about that really than this, but it’s always nice when it comes together.”
Murphy also got a 10-point buck. It was something neat for his nephew to see.
“It was big, really big,” said Sean Murphy.
Sean was one of the many students across the area that had off of school on this first day of the season.
The first-time hunter got a doe while bow hunting a few weeks ago, and hopes he’ll get lucky again this weekend.
“I’m pretty confident,” Sean added.
The day didn’t come without some unexpected incidents. In Somerset County, a hunter went into cardiac arrest and fell from a tree.
In another incident, a hunter was reportedly unresponsive and had to be rescued, but there’s no word on exactly what happened to him.