Pennsylvania Whitetail
By Norma Draper

My husband and I attended the yearly banquet for the Dallas/Ft Worth Safari Club Chapter in March of 2002. At that time I bid on and was successful in getting a hunt to Pennsylvania, at Quest Haven Lodge, for a management Whitetail Deer to score up to 140 B & C. I am still not sure why I bid on the hunt, but for some reason I just felt it was the hunt for me.

Originally there were some problems in getting the hunt scheduled, but after discussing the situation with Russell Walk, the owner of Quest Haven Lodge, the hunt was scheduled for 10-21-02 through 10-23-02.

Quest Haven Lodge is a beautiful 5,000 plus square foot lodge set in the hills of Pennsylvania. The lodge is fairly new construction with 4 bedrooms. Each of the bedrooms is decorated with a different theme (i.e. Whitetail Room, Black Bear Room, Turkey Room, etc) containing it's own luxury bath and sitting area. The lodge has some great mounts of Whitetail Deer that would score in excess of 200 B & C which are representative of the deer at Quest Haven. They give a good idea exactly what type of deer there are at the preserve.

Russell Walk and his family run Quest Haven. Russ is a "hands on" person and very involved in the hunts as well as the other activities at Quest Haven. Russ' wife, Lori, is the cook and does a fine job. Their oldest son, Russell Jr., was my guide for part of the hunt. He is knowledgeable of the animals available on the preserve and also very helpful.

My hunt started on Monday morning at about 7:00 AM. My guide was Russell Walk Jr. Due to my health situation I was driven by 6-wheeler close to the blind and then we (Russell, my husband and I) walked the rest of the way. On the first morning we saw two bucks and several does, but nothing shootable. At about 9:30 AM we went back to the lodge and had breakfast and a nap to get ready for the afternoon hunt. At about 4:30 PM we went out and tried a different blind. We saw 15 bucks and several does. At one point during the evening we heard some crashing from across the field and suddenly out ran about 8 deer (several good bucks). It was like something spooked them. Most of them did not hang around where we could watch them and just ran across the field and disappeared in a flash into the trees. We saw one buck that looked to score about 130 to 135 B & C. He was a mature buck with lots of mass and walking "like he owned the field". Possibly what I was looking for, but from my viewpoint he looked like he only had 2 points on one side and 6 on the other. I was not impressed with him at that time, however after we watched him for awhile, he turned his head so that I could see him better and he actually had 4 points on the one side and 6 on the other. When I finally decided to try for him, I could not get him in my sights because of the angle so I passed. When it was dark, we went back to the lodge for dinner and story telling and then a good night's rest.

On Tuesday morning we went to yet another blind and did not see any deer. Again, we went in about 9:30 AM, ate and rested for the afternoon hunt. At about 4:30 PM we went out again, back to the same blind as we had been at the previous evening. This time Russ Walk Sr. was my guide. When we got to the blind, there was a young buck in the field that would score about 130 B & C. He did not seem to notice us. He just ate. Later on another buck came in to the field who would score about 150 B & C. He just hung around and ate along with the other buck. This was a good buck, but young and Russ felt he needed to "grow" another year or two. We watched those two bucks for some time and then all of a sudden we heard the same crashing, like the night before, coming from the trees across the field and suddenly out ran several bucks, the smallest about 130 B & C. At one time there were no less than 10 Whitetail bucks in the field. Most would score about 130 to 190 B & C. There, in the group, was the deer that I had passed on the first night and again he came walking into the field like he "owned the place". We watched him for a few minutes and Russ said that he was exactly what I was looking for, a mature management buck. I picked up my rifle, sited in and shot one time. He ran about 15 yards and was down. This is the biggest Whitetail Deer I have gotten to date. He has 10 points (11 if you count one very small one that measures just 1 inch) and scores 138 and 1/8 B & C. He is a magnificent deer and this was a great experience.

I had a wonderful time and I think that my husband had a good time too, even though he was not hunting. We will be going back to Quest Haven and would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a quality Whitetail Deer hunt with accommodations that are outstanding.

Written By: Norma Draper 11-7-02

Steve Mahurin
25 North Heights
La Marque, Texas 77568


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