I had seconds to react. Two white-tails crossed my path on a December Saturday in 2B. The second deer was clearly a buck moving through light brush some 15 yards ahead. A six point -- wait, maybe four.
A second passed, my mind racing as I studied the moving rack. What's the new "three up" rule for four-point areas? Three points on one side, not including the brow tine? One, two I counted on the left side... Is that an antler or a stick? Hard to see.
Another second.. The doe saw me and stopped, tail up. The buck took a step and hesitated. One, two ... is that three points on the right or only two? Ears up -- they're about to bolt. No time. No time.
I shot the doe.
It was an anxious moment, similar to those experienced by many of Pennsylvania's 950,000 hunters. I could have tagged a buck that afternoon or returned a mistake kill to the Game Commission and had a really lousy day.
Antler restrictions -- sometimes confusing and difficult to comply with -- are part of the Pennsylvania deer hunt. During a live interview Feb. 18, on stage at the Allegheny Sport, Travel and Outdoor Show at the Monroeville Convention Center, I asked Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer Gary Fujak to explain the rationale behind the state's antler restrictions and shed light on the "three up" rule, which makes three points sometimes legal in four-point areas.
Click the links to hear highlights.
LINK: Changing the sex ratio
LINK: Three up