ROCKY RIDGE -- Opening day of the two-week firearm deer hunting season offered Chris Guay a chance for some peace and quiet and camaraderie with family.
Guay, of Jessup, took to the field Saturday with his father-in-law and wound up bagging a five-point buck.
It had been about four years since his last hunting excursion, he said, mostly because his free time has been taken up with his three young children.
"I like to get out in the woods and enjoy nature and try to outsmart the buggers," he said, standing near his kill, about to be skinned and butchered at Rob's Deer Shop.
Winds early in the morning were not ideal for deer hunting -- the winds can frighten the animals -- though conditions were better than he expected, Guay said.
According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Frederick County has maintained the highest harvest of deer in the state for the past two seasons.
During the 2010-11 season, 7,942 deer were killed in Frederick County, the highest countywide figure for the state, according to the DNR.
The 2011-12 season's harvest in Frederick County increased by 5.5 percent to 8,378, DNR figures state. Deer hunters statewide harvested 98,029 deer during the 2011-12 bow, muzzle-loader and firearm seasons, roughly similar to the previous season's 98,663 deer. Additionally, last season's harvest was the fourth highest on record.
With the help of family members, Rob Eyler runs Rob's Deer Shop, right next to his father's car repair shop, Eyler's Service Center.
He said opening day of firearm season is typically one of his busiest, though on Saturday business was a bit slow as hunters brought in about 15 or so by midafternoon.
Weather plays an important part in the success of the day, he said. Still, he expected more to arrive as the day wore on into evening hours.
Paul Miller and his son, P.J., brought the seven-point buck Paul shot to Rob's shop, as well.
"The man does an excellent job," Paul said of Rob's skinning and filleting into cuts of meat he enjoys winterlong.
The Millers said they saw a dozen or so deer in the morning on their family property in the area.
But just which deer a hunter decides to go after depends on the hunter, Paul Miller said. He prefers bucks.
P.J. said he was not discouraged by his lack of success Saturday and said he planned on hunting through the week with his father.
"It's an experience for me," P.J. said.