Merlin Benner Presentations to Kick Off Deer Season

Allegheny National Forest Visitors BureauBRADFORD, PA – October 18, 2019 – Merlin Benner, a nationally recognized deer expert with Wildlife Specialists, LLC, will be the last of three speakers on Sunday, October 27, at the Deer Season Kick-Off, sponsored by the Kinzua Quality Deer Cooperative. These FREE presentations for deer hunters and conservationists start at 12:30 p.m. in the University Room at the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford on Sunday, October 27. Doors open at NOON. Merlin’s presentation will start at 2:30 p.m.

Merlin Benner is a Certified Wildlife Biologists and is President of Wildlife Specialists, LLC. He works in research, management, and instruction. Merlin received his B.S. from Unity College in Maine, and his M.S. from Tennessee Technological University. Merlin’s primary expertise is in relationships between Wildlife and their habitats.

Merlin’s presentation will consist of de-boning a deer from start to finish. Hunters can watch Merlin’s presentation, which will also be videotaped, and take Merlin’s techniques back home to share with other hunters. De-boning a deer in the field lessens the chance of cutting into nervous tissue in deer that is more likely to contain prions from Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Come learn about another technique to better protect yourself and the deer herd from CWD.

12:30 p.m.: “Woods Butchering: An Improvised, but Practical Approach” by Ben Moyer, Outdoor Writer and Naturalist. Ben is also a member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association and the Outdoor Writers’ Association of America. Ben is recognized across the Keystone State for his keen interest in preserving the outdoor heritage we have come to cherish and enjoy.

1:30 p.m.: “Using Interactive Maps Available for the Kinzua Quality Deer Cooperative (KQDC) Area and Allegheny National Forest (NF)” by staff from the Allegheny NF. Do you like using the hands-on approach that the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) has developed with their ‘make your own hunter maps’, then come learn how to make your own hunter maps for the KQDC and the Allegheny NF.

1:40 p.m.: Special this Year for Deer Hunters – a light THANK YOU LUNCH will be provided with updates about the KQDC. Enjoy a lunch and learn what’s new in your hunt area within the KQDC deer hunting area west of Bradford and north of Kane.

2:30 p.m.: “LIVE DEMO: How to De-bone a Deer in the Field” by Merlin Benner of Wildlife Specialists, LLC. Merlin has been involved in deer research, outreach, hunter surveys, and a host of deer –related issues in Pennsylvania for decades. Come watch Merlin as he takes you step-by-step through the proper procedure to de-bone a deer and protect yourself from CWD-containing body parts. This is a one-time, unique opportunity for hunters – do not miss this presentation. This demonstration will also be video-taped and available for future reference. Here is the chance to watch an expert help you better move a harvested deer into venison.

3:30 p.m.: Personal Opportunity to try out the new Allegheny NF on-line hunter map, chat with presenters, and visit the deer hunting vendor booths.

4:00 p.m.: Doors Close.

All of these seminars are FREE to deer hunters in the University Room of UP-B. The UP-B Environmental Studies and Biology Clubs, and the UP-B Energy Science and Technology Program are co-sponsoring these seminars with the KQDC. Prizes, such as trail cameras, will be awarded randomly during the day.

The KQDC will once again be offering FREE check station services to hunters at its deer checking station on SR 59 at Timberdoodle Flats. The checking station will be open the first two days of the rifle deer season and again on the second Saturday. All hunters checking their deer at the check station will receive a raffle ticket for a rifle of the caliber of their choice. The raffle will be drawn at the end of the rifle deer season.

The KQDC is almost 75,000 acres of public and private lands managed to improve deer populations and habitat. The land is west of Bradford and north of Kane in McKean County. The cooperators are Sand County Foundation, Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau, Allegheny National Forest, Bradford Water Authority, Conservation Forestry, Collins Pine Co. (Kane Hardwood), and RAM Forest Products. Additional information can be obtained at or