Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Octogenarian deer hunter shows it's never too late to teach another

For octogenarian Lynn Whipple of Painesville Township nothing beats introducing a youngster to hunting.

Even if that means the youngster is an 18-year-old oldster who also just happens to be his grandson, Colin Valante of Concord Township.

“I’m 87 and I’m still climbing into my tree stand,” Whiple said. “I took my 18-year-old grandson out with my Horton Hunter crossbow and on Saturday he was in the stand only 15 minutes when he shot a seven-point point buck right through the heart. I was just amazed.”

For Valante this assent into a tree stand was only the second time he had ever been deer hunting. The first time was during last Tuesday’s raw weather nastiness and where Valante spent three hours in the tree stand, Whipple said.

Yet Whipple is no stranger himself to successful deer hunting. Earlier in the archery season he shot a 160-pound doe, also with the same Horton crossbow used by his grandson.

“I even weighed the guts,” Whipple said with a hint of pride.

With a long track record of hunting in Lake County, the first chapter in Whipple’s sporting history began about 70 years ago; and in Concord Township, too.

“Boy, you should have seen Little Mountain back then with its virgin timber,” he said.

Times have changed and now the once very rural Concord Township is largely a checkerboard of small plots. Few are the places which offer much in the way of hunting elbow room, Whipple says.

“Most of the woodlots are five acres or so which is one important reason I didn’t want my grandson hunting with a shotgun,” Whipple said. “Besides, hunting with a crossbow is more of a challenge.”

Years ago Whipple took to the deep forests of Pennsylvania where he spent time hunting the McKean County woods for deer and turkey. That’s all changed, though, and all for the greater, Whipple says.

“The deer hunting is better back here; certainly the size is better and maybe even the abundance,” Whipple said. “I’ll be out for the two-day gun season and the muzzle-loading season.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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