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Hewitt: Elk license luck strikes twice

The term lightning never strikes twice in the same place goes way back to 1851 from a newspaper article in Melbourne.

The initial discussion was that it was highly unlikely that a bolt of lightning would hit the exact spot or person after the first time. Over the years, it seems that it could happen, but was still very unlikely to occur. I am here to tell you that the odds of hitting a person twice in any period of time can happen and I am proof of the phenomenon.

It was the Saturday of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Elk Hunt Drawing with nearly 100,000 applications for about 178 elk licenses. I was actually doing some yard and garden work when my wife brought me a cold drink and told me that I had a phone message that I might want to hear.

I was pretty grimy and hot and didn’t want to take any messages from the answering machine. I told her to forget it … but she insisted that I check out the message. I finally relented and pushed the replay button on the answering machine when she told me it was Mark Ternet.

The only Mark Ternet that I knew was the Black Bear Biologist from the PA Game Commission.

I was a little behind the times because it was the Mark Ternet from the PGC, but now he was the Wildlife Management Supervisor for the North Central Region of Pennsylvania for the PGC. What in the world did he want with me? I wasn’t tuned in at the moment until I heard his message, “Congratulations Jay, I am happy to inform you that were a lucky hunter to draw a Late Season Cow Tag!”

He gave me a telephone number to contact him and further information about the elk hunt. I was shocked to get the call and I never expected to be lucky enough to get an elk tag again.

That’s right, I said again. On Aug. 20 in 2018, I received a letter from the PA Game Commission that I had drawn a cow tag for the 2018 Elk Season to hunt Zone 3.

Early in July, my brother and nephew — encouraged by some success we had in Colorado and in Pennsylvania — put in their applications for the PA elk hunt. In a show of support with them, I agreed to also put an application for all three seasons, with the worse thing that could happen was that I would be financially contributing to the PA Elk Management.

They were the first people that I called and then some of my old hunting buddies. Right away, I got ribbed about knowing somebody or how certain people are always lucky, but it did really happen to me!

Not long after the drawing at Benezette, which, by the way, was a public drawing, I started to get some calls from people who knew me and by people who were offering different services for the hunt. I had one guide service in mind and that was Hicks Run Outfitters with Jeff Colwell and Brian Rumsky.

When bobcat licenses were limited to a drawing, my buddy Beaver Boy and I went with Jeff as a guide to show us some likely bobcat areas and we were both successful. Then in 2018, I drew my PA elk tag and went back to Hicks Run Outfitters with guide Brian Rumsky.Janet Colwell put up with me and my brother and the Bryan boys for a week and showed us great hospitality and some great food!

When Brian answered the phone, we shot the breeze and talked over what we have been doing the past year, I knew that he didn’t know that I drew another tag, even though he suggested five areas to apply for in 2022.

I finally got to the point: “Do you guys want to help me tag an elk in Elk Zone 12 in the late season?”

He answered, “You’re kidding right?” When I told him it was no joke, he was stunned. “I have tried to pull a PA Elk tag forever and you pulled a second one four years later!”

We quickly agreed to arrange the hunt through Jeff and Hicks Run Outfitters and I would soon hear from them to get the process rolling.

Today, I received my elk hunting packet with detailed directions of what was expected of me, when I told the PGC staff that I was familiar with the process due to pulling a tag a few years back, he was astounded. He had never heard of anyone having the good fortune to not only get the first tag, but to also repeat the process and get a second tag … it was like lightning striking the same place twice.

Jay Hewitt is an outdoors columnist for the Butler Eagle

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