Monday marks what many hunters call Pennsylvania's unofficial holiday: the first day of rifle deer season.
The Newcomer clan from Paupack Township says the feast they really look forward to when Thanksgiving comes along is breakfast Monday morning. When the Monday after the holiday comes around, they always come to Spanky's Country Restaurant in Newfoundland before the deer hunting activities of the day.
"Even though you've hunted all your life, it's more this, a group of guys going out, family, friends, whatever. You talk to most hunting camps, it's the same way," said Barry Newcomer.
Several hunting camps or clubs with the same idea stopped into Spanky's for breakfast. The restaurant opened early for this first day of rifle deer hunting season. It's become a two-decade tradition for the restaurant and for folks who hunt this part of Wayne County.
"Everybody's in a good mood, everybody's excited, it's a lot of fun. It's high energy in here," said the restaurant's owner Rosalyn Otway.
The diner was empty by sunrise when the season officially begins. Hunters have two weeks to bag one doe and one buck.
When successful hunters start bringing their deer out of the woods, there is a place in Wayne County hunters can go if they want to make sure all that meat goes to good use.
Frank Zarcone, who runs a deer cutting business outside Honesdale, is one of a few meat processors in our area who participates in a statewide Game Commission program called "Hunters Sharing the Harvest."
He's only processed two deer so far. But, he said by the end of the season his freezer will be full of venison that will go to families in need.
"I process the deer and it all goes to the Honesdale Food Pantry, so it's all distributed locally," Zarcone said.
Zarcone said by the end of the two weeks, a few hundred pounds of meat will be donated to the food pantry in Wayne County alone.
You can find more information on "Hunters Sharing the Harvest" here: http://www.sharedeer.org/