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DSC_0001The past week I had been involved in a number of outdoor interests as usual.  One morning I packed up my fishing gear and headed north of Dayton, Pennsylvania for a few hours of fishing. I visited the back waters of the Mahoning Dam. I used to love fishing here in my earlier days, so I try to get back occasionally to fish and enjoy the solitude of the area.  DSC_0005

Mahoning Creek is the actual waterways flowing through the deep, and steep surrounding hills. The dam was built years ago as a flood control measure for Pittsburgh miles away.

 

Yellow Flag

Yellow Flag

The water is deep, and green. The shoreline is brushy with very big rocks scattered about. As for the fishing, I caught some Pumpkinseed Sunfish; bluegills and smallmouth bass. I was entertained by, at least, three water snakes all morning. they were moving about among the rocks and floating limbs.

Mahoning

Mahoning

 

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

I, also, spent some time along the Allegheny River north of Kittanning. On this morning, a change in the weather became the norm. The winds increased, and the temperatures were chilling. However, I did catch a nice Channel catfish, and a Smallmouth Bass.

I saw a mature Bald eagle this morning flying across the river. I saw a huge carp at about six feet from the shore. I would estimate the behemoth to be around 40 inches in length. I, also, saw a big muskie  along shore.

Bob, and I hunted gobblers on Thursday morning. We closed in to about 80 yards from the gobbling bird. Unfortunately, we were on the wrong side of a gulley, but we had to play the hand we were dealt. A second bird gobbled with the first when  all went quiet. The humidity and temps were rapidly climbing, so we went to the homestead to do prep work for the coming garage.

 

Buffalo Creek

Buffalo Creek

I enjoyed a cool morning hiking along Buffalo Creek near Worthington, Pennsylvania. I enjoy walking here for exercise. Sometimes, I fish for carp in these waters, too.     DSC_0003

DSC_0005  I traveled to Moraine State Park to do some hiking on Tuesday, June 3. We were experiencing some cool comfortable hiking weather. I explored the Sunken garden Trail and walked on another trail as well.

I hiked Crooked Creek area one morning. Here I saw several deer, including a doe and her fawn.                                      DSC_0013

 

 

I saw a 5-6 rabbits and squirrels. Later, after the hike, I fished a little. I caught a number of bluegills. Here I watched a wood duck family; mallards; lots of geese, and a beaver.

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird

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Later today the garage will be arriving. Anxious to put this behind, and see this task completed.

 

The little Screech Owls left the owl box this week, too.

The little Screech Owls left the owl box this week, too.

DSC_0013  I felt the need to get out for a time. The planned yard work, and the washing of the jeep would need to wait until the afternoon.    DSC_0011

I went to the area of Cochran’s Mill, and would spend some time fishing Crooked Creek, too. I managed to be lucky and catch a largemouth bass of around fourteen inches. I could see carp swimming . They appeared to range from around eighteen inches to, maybe, twenty-two inches in length.

DSC_0010   I was forced to exit the waters prior to noon. The gnats would come out as the temperature climbed. Hundreds of the pesky critters would fly about my face. Needless to say I didn’t appreciate their determination.                                                              

Only Bass I caught.

Only Bass I caught.

We have had some hot, and humid weather! Add allergies, and my gobbler hunting has been short in daily hours. Monday, the 18th of May, I told Laurie I would be hunting to no later than eight o’clock due to the weather. I did, however, move in on a roosting gobbler. I stopped on a gas line, and when he gobbled again, I knew I needed to not move any farther.   DSC_0002 I set up and did some calling. The bird was interested. I heard a thud, and the bird was down. Seconds later I heard soft hen call, and the sounds of her flying down to the tom. All went silent. The following morning, I was near my homestead since I was to be helping with garage prep work again. I moved in an unorthodox matter, and set up below where the turkeys like to roost. This a very difficult area to set up on. I was forced to put some eye drops on my eyes for they were beginning to itch, and burn. At that time I heard some excited cuts exactly where I expected the turkey talk to be. I immediately spotted another hen closer to me. I watched her preen herself and balance on the limb before fly down. I saw two more hens fly down. No gobbling at all! Five hens were present. The heat closed in fast! DSC_0002  This morning, however, there was change in the weather. I was disappointed the skies were clouded over, but the temperatures were much cooler. I walked to the top of a hill in breezy conditions. At 5:30, the winds came and hearing became difficult. I moved into a field to try to get away from some of the tree noises from the wind. I thought I heard a gobbler far off, in fact, across a big hollow and a road.                   DSC_0010 I stayed put until normal fly down time had passed. Later, I crossed the road to climb the hill and check out a field. As I walked along I called periodically. I heard a gobble! I moved in, set up, and began to call. He came close and shut up. This could be a sign the big bird was sneaking in. I waited for twenty minutes and became very chilled. I called and received silence. I had to move, so I circled on the back side of the terrain the tom had been gobbling from. I entered the area I believed the turkey was , and as I called I heard a gobbler. You guessed it, the turkey was exactly where I had been calling from earlier. I set up and began calling. He gobbled and I felt all things were falling into place. Again the turkey became quiet, but this time I was waiting. He was circling my position when a thunderous gobbler exploded in front of me. I could see the darkened form. The turkey moved slowly, and every time his head went behind cover I would adjust my sight alignment as needed. The big gobbler went behind some big trees and when he stepped out the eighteen yard shot was completed. the turkey weighed nineteen pounds and sported a 9 3/4 inch beard. His spurs were 7/8 of an inch long.

Been Awhile!

 

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

I haven’t entered many words as of late. Call me lazy! I have been busy, too.

The terrain I may be climbing!

The terrain I may be climbing!

The turkey hunting has slowed for me for a couple of reasons. One reason was the extremely hot temperatures we had recently. I find climbing hills in hot conditions adding asthma issues and allergies make for uncomfortable hunting for me. However, I did manage going turkey chasing in the early hours.                                DSC_0007

As second reason, is the fact of my step-father, Bob, and my mother wanting to add a garage at the homestead. This has produced a need of my services. We had to remove everything from a building my dad, and I erected many years ago. The second step was to tear down the building in order to accomplish preparatory work for the garage.DSC_0005This work required the removal of metal posts, too. Equipment is to come in and level the grade. A base will need to be placed to level the slope and stabilize the weight of the garage, too. This means more work to come in the coming days. Those posts had to be torched out since we had no other way to get them out.

 

Mayapple

Mayapple

 

Bob was out one morning in the heat.

Bob was out one morning in the heat.

DSC_0008

Now for some brief hunt entries. On Saturday, May 9th, I set up for a gobbler. A hen began cutting below me. A second hen began cutting to my left. I called in the hen. She searched for me for quite a long time.

Monday, the 11th, found me planning a strategy on a good-sounding gobbler. I ended up following him for a distance. I had to cross a stream, road, and a hill. I caught up with him on the same level as he still gobbled occasionally. I set up, and the gobbler soon was around eighteen yards from me. The sight was on him. The Remington’s safe was off and the finger was ready to squeeze the trigger. Fortunately, for the turkey he sported only a couple of inches of beard material. I allowed the bird to exit. He sure sounded like a mature bird!     DSC_0004

DSC_0010  This morning the 14th, I moved in on three toms. I eased along a ridge at a site that has proven very difficult to set up on. The birds gobbled around sixty yards or so, but a brushy, gulley was between us. The birds were down and the one was as close as 45 yards, but I couldn’t see him.                                                                                 DSC_0005

DSC_0007 I heard two hens, and did call in one hen, before the toms shut up. Later, before heading to work, I saw a jake and hen in separate fields.

 

A custom called made for me by my friend, Kip Feroce. ferociouscalls.com

A custom called made for me by my friend, Kip Feroce. ferociouscalls.com

I only heard two gobblers this morning. One gobbled once and the other gobbled about eight times. I moved on the one tom trying to get above and ahead of him, but I didn’t make it. His last gobble was around seven o’clock.

Virginia Bluebells

Virginia Bluebells

I was over one mile from the jeep at this time, and to be honest, I was  somewhat happy I didn’t need to carry an old tom the distance. This area has a lot of hills and hollows between, and the heat was closing in fast.

I did see a hen. The mouthy,  female started cutting above me. I stopped to listen. I wanted to make sure it was a real bird, and not another hunter. I learned quickly the sounds came from the real thing. In fact, she went air-borne, and flew almost close enough to touch. (Actually about eight feet.) Would her landing be the reason the gobbler would go silent???

DSC_0002 I found two morels upon my trek towards the jeep. I didn’t pick either one for those two were all I could find. I let them go to “spore”. I arrived at the jeep around 9:30.                                                                               DSC_0009

 

Female Hummingbird

Female Hummingbird

I sat down on a gas line meeting the remnants of an old logging road close to posted property. This was a strategic plan for me to listen for gobblers. Normal gobbling time was upon the woodlands, and I was hearing nothing. I laid back to relieve a sleeping leg when I heard the alarm cuts immediately to my right. Oh yeah, a turkey had seen my movement, and was alerted. The hen, eventually, calmed back down.           DSC_0003

A little closer to me, I could see the form of another turkey. Yikes… a gobble exploded directly behind me!  All three turkeys where within shotgun range if I would have chosen to be illegal, or unethical! Anyone can take a turkey in such ways. Not me, I relish the excitement, and anticipation of working  calls for a turkey  to come in up close, and personal. However, I was in a bad way. I couldn’t move, so all I had to do was await the birds next move.

DSC_0002  The hens flew down followed by the tom. They all moved up hill well into posted property. I turned over onto my belly when I had the opportunity and tried luring the three to me. I failed!

Trout Lily

Trout Lily

I drove to a secondary area where I had taken a gobbler last year. I had a gobbler answer, but the bird was either across a road behind a fenced area, or very low on the hill. Later, this gobbler seemed to be getting closer, Suddenly, I heard alarm cutting and the gobbles ceased. What had happened? I noticed a turkey some hundred, and twenty yards in a field, but briefly.  The bird never showed up to me. Something scared the turkey.

DSC_0016    I began looking for morels as I walked on. I saw two turkeys on a right-of-way, but they had seen me, as well. I continued on.

I crossed a hollow, and worked around the hill. I called, and heard a distant gobbler. The turkey worked around above me. I set up.

The bird was above me, and I felt good about the positioning. Suddenly, deer snorts to me left echoed and the deer took off , and you guessed it, they went directly towards the turkey. Thebronzebeauty shut up. I tried firing him up, but failed.  I began the tour towards the jeep, calling periodically as the rain began to drench my clothes.

Box Turtle

Box Turtle

I found a box turtle. I always feel incomplete if I don’t find one in gobbler season. later, I would see a porcupine high in a tree.

My step father, Bob, and I, began our trek slightly after five this morning. We set down on a log to await what would transpire as dawn approached. Prior to six, the gobbler sounded off in the same area he gobbled from on the first day. We moved into position to about a hundred yards from his roosting tree. All seemed well! I began calling with some soft tree yelps.

Scarlet Tanager (Male)

Scarlet Tanager (Male)

DSC_0006  The big bird left the roost, and silence became the norm. I told Bob to not move anything, but his eyes. A short time later I heard a muffled gobble on the back side of this ridge. Apparently, the hens were roosted at this point, and the gobbler knew it. I didn’t hear any hen calls.

We, later, crept to the ridge line, and called to no avail. Suddenly, the sound of a shot exploded in the field a short distance away. I believe the landowner’s son was hunting at the field’s edge with decoys.

Coltsfoot in bloom.

Coltsfoot in bloom.

We began a slow tour around the woodlands trying to muster a gobble. Just prior to eight o’clock a gobbler mouthed-off way across a big hollow, possibly in posted land. After we discussed some options, Bob wanted to go back on top, and call, and I elected to cross the road, and hollow, to listen, and look for morels.

 

Coltsfoot going to seed.

Coltsfoot going to seed.

I began the ascend the hill only to hear some equipment noise. I adjusted my plans and moved towards the posted property. I wondered if I could lure the gobbler to me…if he was still present.

I called for forty minutes when I could hear some hen answering my calls. Suddenly, a loud gobble occurred somewhere behind me. I slowly turned around, and soon spotted a turkey about fifty yards away. It disappeared, and moments later a bird flushed to my left. The bird was close, but I was looking into the sun, and couldn’t identify the gender. Was this bird the gobbler?

DSC_0003

A Fisher with a turkey egg.

I still occasionally heard hen chatter, and shortly even their talk quieted. Below me I spotted movement, and I identified the mammal as a Fisher with a turkey egg in the mouth. I managed to take a few photos of the animal.

Shortly before ten o’clock, I heard sharp alarm putts, and the sound of a turkey in flush. A gobbler sailed over me. His beard could be viewed. What had scared the turkey? Was the fisher after him? Another hunter?

I elected to head off, and was surprised a gas truck was parked at a close gas well. That was the sound I had heard earlier , and now they had moved to this side of the hill. Now I understood why the hen stopped calling,  for she was in that direction.

I headed off after ten,  for work needed done at home.

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