Cumberland Times-News

Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors

December 1, 2012

My safety still on! But that’s not all that bad

You don’t have to pull the trigger a lot to have a memorable hunting season.

Am I trying to justify my level of success thus far? Could be, but the fat lady isn’t even warming up her vocal cords yet. The opera isn’t over. Thanks, Dick Motta. That phrase will be used forever. Some statements are trite-proof.

I got my first bow and arrow shot at a bobcat this year. The feline is happy that I missed by two inches. Don’t call the Maryland Natural Resources Police. The shot was in West Virginia.

Also in West Virginia, twice I had bears within bow range. One was a 125-pounder at 20 yards and the other a 250-pounder at 36 yards. Neither bear turned broadside before quickly spinning and exiting stage left, you know, over where the fat lady is waiting her turn to perform.

I can tell you this. I am not about to flip an arrow at a bruin unless it is close and its vital area exposed. Nada.

What else?

Two days after I missed the bobcat, another bowhunter in camp did not miss his opportunity when another Roberto Felino showed up.

I was amazed at the difference in the impacts of Hurricane Sandy from my hunting ground in Allegany County to the one in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle.

At the Maryland spot, near my favorite ladder stand, it appears that a giant bowling ball rolled through the pine flat toppling well more than half of the trees.

Afterwards, I could see my stand from 100 yards away, but I could not get to it. Some saw work allowed me a path, though I was a bit antsy while clearing a way, worried that some of the leaning trees would pick that time to fall with me as the target.

In West Virginia, there were no new trees on the ground.

I was not far from a 12-year-old who killed his first deer, a 5-point, on the opening day of the Mountain State firearms season. When the sound of the shot roared down the hollow to my ears, I figured he had one on the ground, knowing that his father would let him shoot first.

All of us shared in the lad’s satisfaction, probably recalling the first deer in our lengthy hunting journeys.

West Virginia hunting camp is brightened in a taste-bud sort of way each year by the pastries sent by Pam Eash and toted by her husband, Bill, and son, Sam, from the Johnstown, Pa., area to the hut along the Cacapon River. Thanks, Pam.

Does this happen to you? You spend countless hours/days in a stand bow hunting and then it is firearms season. You see a buck, say 100 yards away, and your first reaction is to hope it comes closer.

Then you realize, “Hey. It doesn’t have to come closer. I have the thunder rod in my hand.”

Brain to hands: “It ain’t bow season any more.”

I may have told you this before, but I have found something that will likely turn me into a trophy deer hunter. I have found that the longer I wait for a truly big buck to come by, the less dragging I have to do.

An 8-point with heavy antlers and a 17-inch spread? He’ll be even bigger next year. See. Trophy hunting is easy.

As I wrote recently, I consider fall turkey hunting to be the most pure form of hunting in our neck of the mountains.

Jerry Burke, a friend from Petersburg, W.Va., agrees. Here is what he told me recently in an email.

“In my opinion, hunting T-birds in fall is the definition of hunting, at least in our part of the world. If I had to choose one type of hunting, it would be fall turkey, with a caveat; let there be gentler terrain than here in Grant County.

“You know the factors: sign, no sign; here yesterday, but where now?; decisions-decisions; disappointments; frustrations; mistakes; mental and physical fatigue; life gets in the way to prohibit going back to follow up a scatter; persistence, patience, experience, luck?, etc. Another walk to the truck; put away gun and gear; seems that’s always the case.

“Then one day, leaving the woods, sun on back, following silhouette of a man with gun in hand and turkey over shoulder; one of the satisfying pleasures of life!”

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at


Text Only
Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors
  • Sleep under the stars! Be a game warden!

    July 27, 2014

  • Mike Sawyers and his father, Frank Sale of quart-sized Mason jars lagging, merchants claim

    The opening day of Maryland’s squirrel hunting season is Sept. 6 and I am guessing you will be able to drive a lot of miles on the Green Ridge State Forest and see very few vehicles belonging to hunters of the bushytail. It wasn’t always that way. In the early 1960s, when I was a high school student in Cumberland, there was no Interstate 68. What existed was U.S. Route 40 and in the last couple of hours before daylight on the opening day of squirrel season there was an almost unbroken line of tail lights and brake lights between Cumberland and Polish Mountain.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Outdoor editor admits making straw purchases

    I’ll admit it. I’ve made straw purchases and I’ve made them knowingly.
    I can only hope that the individuals to whom I have passed on those purchases used them wisely.

    July 12, 2014

  • 11th Maryland bear hunt scheduled Oct. 20-23

    It is getting to be that time of year when those of us who would like to hunt bears in Maryland start thinking about applying for one of the limited number of permits.

    July 6, 2014

  • Wildlife official protests more Sunday hunts in far W. Md.

    Joseph Michael believes that the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service put its regulations cart ahead of its regulations horse, at least when it comes to allowing more hunting on Sundays in the state’s three westernmost counties.

    June 28, 2014

  • Bear country bowhunters can pack

    It has been four years in the legislative making, but people bowhunting for deer in Garrett, Allegany and part of Washington counties will be able to carry handguns to protect themselves from bears. Although bow season will begin Sept. 5, the law does not become effective until Oct. 1. The law applies to Deer Management Region A.

    June 1, 2014

  • No Bambi for you, Mrs. Doe

    Some people want so badly for deer birth control to work that they actually think it will, even on wild populations.
    I wish I had a couple bridges to sell.
    A week ago on the Outdoors page we ran the deer there do what deer  everywhere do. They eat the easiest food available such as gardens and ornamental plantings. They walk in front of moving cars. They give ticks and  parasites a place to live.

    April 19, 2014

  • Black bear biologist explains new hunt

    The Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service has abandoned the bear harvest quota system in use for 10 hunting seasons and has set the next two hunts at four days apiece.

    April 5, 2014

  • MIKE SAWYERS South Branch of Potomac River best place in W.Va. for trophy rainbows

    I always enjoy the annual roundup supplied by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources that reveals where all the trophy fish were caught.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Mettiki will once again produce trout

    Brian Richardson is confident that the Maryland Fisheries Service will, little by little and year by year, get to the point where full production is restored to the state’s trout hatchery system, meaning that fish will no longer have to be purchased from private sources.

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Must Read
House Ads