United Bowhunters Of Pennsylvania
Disabled Hunters Program


Mike Yost - 2004

My excitement began building soon after I received the phone call from Ernie Kramer of the United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania. He told me that I had been selected to participate in a management hunt at Mountaintop Whitetail Haven in Lykens PA sponsored by their Disabled Hunters Program and I would have the chance at bucks scoring up to 130 B&C points.

I asked my uncle Roy to come with me because we have hunted together forever and I need some help once in awhile. We had a four-hour drive and as we got closer we could see lights from this one place clear on top of the mountain. The manager and guide, Dave Stroup, met us at the gate and led us up to the lodge that we had seen for miles away. The lodge is a brand new log cabin lodge all by itself on top of the mountain surrounded by 300 acres of fenced in hunting preserve.

They put me up in a beautiful bedroom with an attached bathroom and my uncle slept downstairs in the bunkhouse. This place is big, and room was no problem. We talked about the hunt that was planned in the morning with Dave and Dan, another guide, and while we were talking, one of the owners, Vernon and his wife, showed up. They are all very nice people. They put out some food and then we went to bed. I was too excited and hardly slept at all and ended getting up at 4:17am.

We had cold cereal and coffee like real rugged outdoor men do and headed out to the blind at about 6am. Once we were in the blind, two does came within 30 feet and stood milling around. One of them had silver ears and hence her name “Silver Ears”. They were wary and suspected something and kept looking at us so we were stuck in the frozen position for quite awhile. That is when we noticed, just over the hill; a tree being shook this way and that by some unseen buck. This went on and on but the buck never came into view and we quit for the morning.

Back at the lodge the cook, LaDonna, had arrived and made us brunch or second breakfast as the Hobbits would say. She made pancakes, egg and cheese muffins, and ham and bacon – the works. Food was not going to be a problem.

Around 2:00 we went back out to the blind. I was watching a couple of squirrels run around when Dave tapped me and said, “He’s coming.” A few minutes later a tremendous rack came into view attached to a very big deer. He was moving very slowly marking the trees and scraping the ground, checking every bush. Finally he came into range and I put the red dot on his shoulder and squeezed the trigger. I watched the arrow go right under him. I had miscalculated the range! He trotted off down the hill, not really scared but alarmed. Dave said, “Don’t worry, I’ll get him back.” and started using his bleep call. Sure enough, that buck came to check out that call and was slowly coming right back in front of me. I was ready for another shot when we all heard a loud crash right down over the hill. It was two bucks fighting. My buck immediately took off to see the fight and I couldn’t get a shot off.

We were hoping that the buck would come back a third time when a doe appeared to our right and was being followed by another even bigger buck. I was again frozen in the stare of the doe just 20 feet away. I thought she would come right up to us but she just sniffed around and kept moving to the left. The huge buck came into view and I was shaking all over. I was trying to hold the crossbow still but it would not stop trembling. I had never in my life even seen a live buck this magnificent let alone have a chance of taking it. Dave gave me the go ahead and I pulled the trigger. This shot went right over the deer. I got too excited and over-compensated for the earlier shot. After all this, the deer get spooked by something else and come right back in front of me as I am struggling to reload but I do not get another chance this day.

We went back to the lodge wore out from the excitement and had another large meal by the wonderful cook LaDonna. Believe me, you will gain a few pounds staying with these people.

The next morning it was raining and hazy as we traveled out to the blind. Deer were moving all around and Silver Ears again walked right on by followed by several other does. Then we saw the first buck of the day, a small seven point. It was being followed by an older buck with a nice rack but smaller than what we were looking for. Silver Ears came back through and then we spotted the tree bouncing again. Dave called and bleated but the buck would just not come up the hill into view.

After awhile Dave spotted a monster buck coming down the trail straight towards the blind. He was coming slowly and we waited and waited. Suddenly a small doe comes out fro behind the blind, not six feet away and looks Dave right in the face. Busted! She snorted and they all took off running.

When we were leaving the blind we jumped up a real nice buck, a ten point or so with a wide spread. Dave gave me the OK and I fired. I hit him right on the shoulder bone. The arrow did not go in. I finally got my range figured out but place a bad shot. I could not believe my luck. The guides found the arrow and chased the deer around the mountain for three hours and verified that the deer was not bleeding and was moving around fine.

Later that evening we were headed to the blind when we spooked up yet another buck. This one was an eleven point with a non-typical rack. It was not as big as the others I had seen but at this point I was not being picky so I took my shot. It was a good hit, I little higher than perfect but lots of bright red blood. The deer ran off and the guides and my uncle could not find it. We had to leave and the guides continued to look for it after we left. Dave later called me to tell me they found it and they will be sending me the rack. He ran a good 500 yards onto a stony ledge just beyond where they were looking.

This was one incredible hunt. I had so many opportunities and seen so many amazing deer that I will never forget for the rest of my life. I highly recommend Mountaintop Whitetail Haven for trophy whitetail. The food and lodging is top shelf and the people are great. The deer are plentiful and just awesome.

Thank you, Dave, Vernon and Ernie and the United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania for making this trip possible.

Here is the lodge’s info:
Mountaintop Whitetail Haven
Manager: David Stroup
Home: (717) 692-2584 (after 7 pm)
Cell: (717) 649-4085
496 Luxemburg Road, Lykens, PA 17048
E-mail: information@huntmwh.com