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Monday, June 16, 2008

News Flash (For a Day Still Future) - Thanks, Jeff!

Pastor Bags Monster Buck
Lanse, PA
Jeff Schiefer, Cub Reporter

Pastor Matthew “Matt” Mitchell, was nearly killed last Monday in a freak hunting incident on the opening day of buck season. Mitchell was hunting in the vicinity of Hannah Furnace Road with friend and hunting mentor John Kristofits when Kristofits received a call on his cell phone and had to leave for a family emergency. According to witnesses, Mitchell was seen “on stand” at around 10 a.m. About that time, other hunters in the area reported seeing a buck of unusual size running through the woods like greased lightning. The “monster buck” reportedly had a rack bigger than anyone had ever seen in the area. Some hunters estimate the animal had as many as 24 points. Several shots were fired from all directions as the big buck ran past hunter after hunter. Authorities say the animal then ran towards Mitchell’s location.

The rest is the stuff legends are made of. According to his own testimony, Mitchell heard the chorus of shots and the sound of a large animal crashing through the brush in his direction. He raised his rifle in anticipation, and could not believe what he saw as the buck came into view and stopped only 10 yards away. “Everything went silent in that moment,” he explained, “it was like I was in a dream. I could hear the buck panting, and feel my heart beating. But then I froze. It was so huge, so enormous, so beautiful, I just stood there staring. I couldn’t pull the trigger.” That was when Mitchell became aware of the voices around him yelling “SHOOT! SHOOT!” As if waking from a dream, Mitchell’s mind began to clear, and he noticed the massive set of antlers heading straight towards him. The buck was charging. Mitchell fired as the buck lunged, huffing out blasts of steam like a runaway freight train. He fired again, but the buck kept coming. A third time he fired, and the behemoth’s antlers drilled into the bark of the tree behind him, pinning him against the trunk. Mitchell lost consciousness. It took 3 other hunters and 2 Wildlife Conservation Officers 2 hours to free the first-time hunter. Game Commission authorities later determined that all 3 of Mitchell’s bullets had in fact penetrated the animal’s heart.

When asked for comment, Mitchell sheepishly attributed his first-time success, and hair-breath escape to his Awesome God. You can hear him tell the tale yourself, every Sunday at Lanse Evangelical Free Church in Lanse, PA. Congregation members say he hasn’t been the same since the incident. “There’s something wilder, and yet quieter about him now,” said one member who preferred to remain anonymous. “You can see it in his eyes. It’s kind of a crazy look. Frankly, some of us are a bit worried. We’re praying for him though, so we know he’ll be okay.”