Photo: Author’s Grandfather in 1980’s

Growing up in an outdoor family in Sigel during the 70’s and 80’s and going to school in Brookville, I thought every family hunted. It was not until I went to college that I realized how special the rural way of life I knew really was. As a young child I can remember going to the family camp near Hazen before deer season and playing with my cousins. It was always like a fall family reunion. Even my aunts and grandmother were deer hunters. One season that I will always remember was the year that my dad got a big 12 point down on Mill Creek. That evening everyone is camp was so excited. At that moment, I started the counting the years until I would be 12 and able to going hunting.

As the kids in the family turned into teens, our group did most of their hunting on my uncle’s farm near Knoxdale. Those were great times and many lifelong memories were made there. Going to hunting camp was something everybody looked forward to each year. It was a time to reconnect and just enjoy life. My grandfather Bud was the king of playing jokes too. There was never a dull moment around camp. We would always go spotting deer the night before the season opener and I would get so excited that I couldn’t sleep. Coming back to camp after a day of hunting was a much anticipated event too. I loved hearing the stories of the lucky hunters and admiring the antlers on each deer as well as the stories of misses and the ones that got away. The evening meal was always filled with excitement, laughter, and hunting stories.

Now my grandfather and uncles are now gone. I still carry on the hunting tradition with my father and brother. As we live our modern lives at breakneck speed, I think back to those simpler times at deer camp and the memories that were made. Enjoy your days afield this year in the PA Great Outdoors region and safe hunting.
For more information on hunting in the PA Great Outdoors go to or call (814) 849-5197.-John Straitiff Executive Director PA Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau.

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