Finding the Outdoors Within. . . with Tyler Ripper – Hunting

Welcome to the Small Town Outdoors, Sunday Blog Series! STO co-owner, Ripper, kicks it off with his story on how he got involved in hunting . . .

. . . Growing up in a small, rural town, hunting is very common among our community. So common, in fact, that some school districts and businesses around here almost always have the first day of PA rifle off. It’s pretty much another holiday where traditions are made and families come together, but in this case it’s to hunt (speaking of that, first day of rifle is next Monday, November 26th, so good luck to all who go out and be sure to share your hunt with us!).

And thinking back, that’s really where it all started for me. Every year since I was a little kid, my family comes together at the family lease and hunts the first day of rifle together. The first time I remember being out there to actually join my dad in the double man stand was in 2005.

It seemed like every year before that, if my dad shot a buck or doe, he’d come get me at the house and have me be a part of each experience when he was tracking the deer or just getting it out of the woods, and as a little kid, I loved it.

However, the year that sticks out in my mind in particular is 2006, and I would have been 10 years old.

It was the second year in a row where my dad was using a .44 mag single shot contender during rifle season. Keep in mind you can’t shoot as far as a rifle with this, while still being very accurate; so you have to get the deer in a little closer to get an accurate shot off. It presents more of a challenge in that aspect.

At the time, the mentored-youth hunting program was just coming about, and I wasn’t able to hunt until the next year. So I went out to hunt with my dad again on the first day of rifle in the double man stand.

We had a 9 point come in after seeing a few other deer, and boy was I excited. It clicked in my head that this was the first time I had a chance to experience a successful hunt, and successful it was.


I always think this picture is funny because it looks like I have a rifle strapped on my back.. quite the contraire. It’s just a stick in the background lol.

Dad had dropped this buck at 40 yards and it was such a cool experience. He had just shot his first buck with his contender, which is a challenge in itself, and I had officially been hooked on hunting.

That same year, I got my first bow for a birthday present, and started to fall in love with archery. Aside from archery hunting in the best time of year, the fall months, archery has grown to be one of my favorite hobbies all year round when it comes to just practicing and going to 3D shoots every weekend I can.

Since that first hunting experience, I bagged my first buck with a rifle a couple years later, have shot a few doe with my bow, all in limited time in the woods due to other activities I had going on.. But this year, I finally was able to put in more time in the woods, and harvested my first archery buck (full story soon to come).


And since my hockey “career” ended a few years ago, I’ve really focused my efforts on becoming a better hunter/outdoorsman.  The year 2006 might have got me involved in hunting, but this archery buck has been my most memorable experience yet and I can’t wait to share the story.

Send us your stories to on how you got involved in ANYTHING outdoors, and you will be featured in our Sunday Blog Series.

This was how I found the outdoors withinHow did you?

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