It takes a whole lot of good luck for all the variables in a deer hunt to fall into place and result in a perfect story with a perfect climax. Such a string of good luck came to Zach Lyons, a 12-year-old bowhunter, and Tom Young, his grandfather, both from Franklin, Pennsylvania.

It also tells us something about the state of the rut that deer are in right now in that region.

Lyons and his grandfather were bowhunting on the edge of State Game Lands No. 39, in Venango County, on November 2. Lyons was in a ground blind. Young was in a tree stand about 30 yards away. They were treating it as a rut situation, correctly so, it turned out. Grandpa was rattling, while grandson used a grunt call.

As they describe it, the buck “charged right in.” Lyons grunted again to stop the buck, which it did at about 15 yards. Grandpa watched as Lyons let loose his arrow. It found its mark, as the 8-point buck went just 50 yards before collapsing.

That’s the two of them in the photo above. Is this the dream hunt of every hunting grandfather?

The same day I learned about that hunt, another message arrived from Chad Foster of Mercer County, Pennsylvania, which borders Venango County, where Zach Lyons took his deer. Foster’s hunt was near Carlton, which is less than a mile from Venango County.

Foster’s bowhunt, however, took place well before Lyons’, on October 17. He added that he had seen bucks fighting on October 10. His buck was in the process of chasing a doe when it wandered close to his stand. That’s Foster here with the 8-point, which has a 19-3/4-inch outside spread.


This is a clear example of how the rut can occur over a long period of time, even in the same locale.

To keep coincidences going, I bumped into Foster last Saturday at the Pennsylvania Steelhead Expo, in Erie, where I was one of the speakers.