My first ML kill was also my first deer kill. I never hunted till I was 27 because no one in my family did but I had been shooting since I was 8 and shooting BP with an original .36 percussion rifle since I was 14. In 1976 I was hunting the Pa. ML season after Christmas with 3 friends on game lands in Bedford Co. Pa. We split up, two and two. My buddy was carrying a Bedford style rifle he had built the year before and I was carrying my second build, a flinter using a Doc Haddaway lock, Douglas .45 barrel with an exceptional piece of maple I bought off Griff Smith in Ligonier for the grand price of $45.
We had followed an old game trail across the side of a ridge when Harry spotted two deer walking towards us. We had separated about 40 yds apart and using hand signals he told me to shoot first then he would shoot. I did but his gun misfired. He had used a W.G. Suter lock he built from a kit. At that time Mr. Suter lived about 5 miles outside of town, in Ruffsdale Pa. and Harry had bought one of his lock kits. Of course it failed at a crucial time but this was not his first hunt. He had been going since he was 12 and was the impetus for me to start hunting myself.
I was happy as could be thinking I had shot a doe but upon getting closer to the deer I saw that I had shot a button buck with about 1 inch long spikes. I still have the small rack sitting around here with some of my others and even though it is the smallest, to me it is still the best.
That was a good year for me. I also met my future wife that summer. I still have her too.