Lancaster, Pa. ’Äî Philip Carroll, a 22-year-old injured
ex-Marine, completed a rare Pennsylvania hunting feat in May when
he got a gobbler with a crossbow near Williamsport. The Marietta,
Lancaster County, hunter had previously taken a buck in Chester
County and a bear in Clinton County.
Carroll, who was the fifth hunter to get a bear with a crossbow
in Pennsylvania, is believed to be the first to get a grand slam
with the weapon in the Keystone State.
With a ’Äúthwang’Äù the morning of May 8, Carroll shot a
19-pound Lycoming County gobbler at about 20 yards.
He was working a bird for several minutes when he heard a
thunderous gobble. Right behind him, not 5 yards away, was a
Carroll froze. The turkey started walking away, but the hunter
was able to turn his body when it went behind a fallen tree and
made a 20-yard shot.
Carroll joined the Marines right out of high school in 2004. One
of the things he missed most during two years of intense training
at Camp Lejeune, N.C., was hunting. In May, a year ago, the
reconnaissance Marine was injured, losing 80 percent of the use of
his right arm.
’ÄúOne of the first concerns was how it would affect hunting,
because that’Äôs all I do,’Äô’Äô said Carroll.
Back in Lancaster County, archery season soon arrived. The
partial use of his right arm made him incapable of drawing back a
compound bow, so Carroll received a permit from the Pennsylvania
Game Commission to use a crossbow.
He uses a pulley system to cock the weapon.
For eight straight days in October, Carroll hunted with a friend
on woodlots near Cochranville, Chester County.
He passed on five legal bucks. ’ÄúI just wanted something bigger
than I’Äôve ever shot,’Äù he said, recalling the five bucks he had
shot to date.
The afternoon of the eighth day he was sitting at the base of a
tree when he saw six deer ’Äì three of them bucks ’Äì working their
way up a creek bottom. ’ÄúAs soon as I saw those antlers, I said,
’ÄòThat’Äôs good enough,’Äô’Äù he recalled.
Resting the crossbow on his knee, he dropped the animal in its
tracks ’Äì a six-pointer with a 17-inch spread, shot broadside at
25 yards. Carroll also took a doe on the same property a week
Carroll later headed to Clinton County to a friend’Äôs property
for the two-day archery season for bears. Sitting on a treestand on
opening morning, watching a natural funnel, Carroll saw a black
blob about 70 yards off. At the quartering away shot, the bear
spun, ran 30 yards and laid down.
It was his first Pennsylvania bear hunt ever and he was
successful only 90 minutes into it, The male bear weighed 165
pounds, field-dressed. The hide is being made into a rug.
With a deer and bear under his belt, Carroll was lacking only a
turkey to record a coveted ’Äúgrand slam’Äù in Pennsylvania. He
took care of that last month.
Carroll is still high from his hunting thrills of the last year.
’ÄúThey say you have to put in your time in the woods and good
things will happen,’Äù he said.
’ÄúI feel extremely lucky and just happy. I will probably never
have a year like this again. It was a great welcome back to the
great Pennsylvania woods.’Äù