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Dave Detlor packs up his scissors

— For his entire life, Dave has been a member of the National Rifle Association and has hunted nearly every opening day of the turkey- and deer-hunting seasons for more than 50 years.

Each fall for the regular deer season, he and Ceaira drive their camping trailer and set up on private property near Truxton down in Cortland County. They stay for nearly a month as they each hunt deer.

During turkey-hunting season in the spring of 2012, Dave bagged a 19-pound bird sporting a 9½-inch beard and 7/8-inch spurs. He shot the gobbler with a single-shot, 20-gauge shotgun over near Central Square. For the past year or so at the shop, Dave would gladly show off the bird’s fanned tail feathers and beard.

“I like the meat, and I like the challenge,” Dave said about hunting. Turkeys, he noted, “are beautiful animals, but they look good right next to the mashed potatoes, too.”

His whole philosophy about walking in the woods with a long gun slung over his shoulder is summarized on a button seen at the shop: “A bad day hunting is better than a good day at work.”

Battle veteran

Though he’s now facing a daunting foe, Dave’s a fierce fighter. A proud member of the Greatest Generation, he fought in World War II and survived the Battle of the Bulge.

His World War II experience makes the last 69 years of his life seem relative routine.

“Work-sleep-eat, work-sleep-eat is boring in a way, but it keeps a roof over your head,” he once told an interviewer. “Change? Not in the last 50 years, really. All of my excitement came before that. In fact the day I was 18 I went in [to the Army] and got over there just in time for the Germans to break through the Ardennes.”

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