State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Letter from Editor: It’s About More Than the Hunt

by on November 02, 2017 3:43 PM

I’ve written before in this space about my New England roots. Hunting isn’t a major pastime in Rhode Island or Connecticut.

There are some serious hunters there, of course. One neighbor had a life-size deer target in his front yard (it was a woodsy area), and he’d practice with his bow-and-arrow to prepare for the season. He seemed pretty accurate.

But that kind of enthusiasm for hunting was far from the norm in that neck of the woods.

Here, where the opening of rifle deer season is an unofficial holiday, hunting is a rich part of the culture.

We got a healthy taste of that in recent weeks, spending time with a number of hunters and their pointer dogs as pheasant season was about to take flight.

We set out to learn about how the dogs are trained and what they do in the field. We saw them in action, and it is impressive. Gary Darrin, a good friend and neighbor in Bellefonte, took us to the pheasant reserve of his friend Dr. Nick “Doc” Dicuccio. There we met Doc’s Elhew pointer Dolly, a bundle of non-stop energy who tirelessly tracked the pheasants released in Doc’s field.

What came through more than anything with Doc and Dolly, and others we visited, is the bond between hunter and dog, and the outdoors. Doc spoke with emotion about earlier dogs who have passed away, and Dolly, saying the land is really for them.

As Vilma Shu Danz writes in this issue, it’s about much more than the hunt.

We also bring you a story this month about the upcoming Alternative Christmas Fair at the University Baptist and Brethren Church in State College. This will be the 35th year of the fair, and it’s truly a special event.

I got acquainted with Cynthia Carpenter, the event chair, and Jean Yeatman, the publicity chair, last year while reporting a story on the 2016 fair for the Centre County Gazette.

They have a great story to tell: the fair brings nonprofits together with residents who want to give a Christmas gift that makes a difference in the community and beyond. It’s a simple but brilliant idea, and folks like Cynthia and Jean have helped make the event a huge success. The fair started small but has grown and grown, raising $600,000 through the years for nonprofits.

Karen Walker takes a look back at how the fair became such a success, and looks ahead to this year’s event.

And, as we speed toward the holidays, we wish you an early Happy Thanksgiving!


Mark Brackenbury

Editorial Director

Disclaimer: Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.