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Immature Bald Eagles. (Notice the Common Merganser in the rear bird’s talons.)

The mid-morning through early afternoon was brisk. The temperature was somewhere in the lower twenty degree mark. But, I wanted to get out and walk around some and look for Bald Eagles. I was heading to crooked Creek Park.

I bundled up and set along the bank for about an hour and watching four immature eagles the entire time. Photo opportunities were not the best for the most part, but I certainly enjoyed watching a bird that was considered close to extinction during the time of my youth. What a remarkable comeback!.

This ground area in forefront is usually water-covered. The water here is the original creek bed.

Eventually, I packed up and drove to another place to explore. I could see in the upper area of the back up waters a large ground area. This area of exposed ground is normally not present. In recent times a small island with young trees had shown up, but what I was seeing far off was ground from the island area touching the shoreline. This needed investigated.

I walked the shoreline until I reached where a small tributary enters into the lake. I could see ice all about and began walking out into the newer ground area. I could hear the ice crunching and occasionally I would sink in an inch or so, but I kept moving along.

The ground area is normally covered with water.

Not unexpecting the next scenario, I felt my right leg immediately sunk into the depth of the mud slightly over my knee. My left leg due to my body shifting to the right didn’t sink, but bent and only went in a few inches. Somehow I managed to get myself from this potential issue safely. Afterwards, I went back to the shoreline and walked more until the ground mass seemed more firm. I began walking on it again, but more cautiously.

So, I thought of future boaters using the dam and finding my sun-bleached bones sticking up out of the ground surface. Of course, if normal water level occurred then even then I would not be found, however, I only kidding about this.

I really wanted to get across to see the original creek flow of Crooked Creek. This area would have been underwater for many years and, in my weird way, I wanted to go there which I did. I had to be observant for various places were soft under the ice so I had to move around seeking such areas to avoid.

In this area, close to the eagle’s nest, I saw five eagles including mature birds.

Hedgeapple

Extra Photos

Here is a varied group of photos to see. I think I may be caught up with all the entries I intend to use.

Teasels

Thrush

Family Photos

The people in this photo. Front row left to right are: Uncle Harold Yount, Mary Yount (My grandmother) James “Ed” Yount (My grandfather) Back Row left to right: Aunt Vera; Aunt Ethel, Aunt Helen, and my mother, Ruth.

My grandparents.

My Grandparents while dating. Grandma was 17 and my Grandfather was 22.

My Uncle Russell Smail sometime near to 1934.

A photo of my father, Allen Kenneth Smail during World War ll.

Bird Life Photos

Ring-neck Pheasant

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Cardinal

Female Cardinal

Wild Turkey wing dragging from strutting.

Me holding a baby Canada Goose in ancient times.

Last fall, I went to Keystone Lake in Armstrong County to hike along the shoreline. The water in the lake is very low thus offering an opportunity to see the lake with a different perspective.

There were a lot of various forms of birdlife utilizing the water.

Greater Yellowlegs

Plenty of memories swept through my minds as I walked along. Many times my dad and I fished these waters in days past. I remember one extremely foggy first day of bass season when hearing a low volume boat motor. Suddenly, my line went taut and pole bent towards the water. I heaved expecting a huge fish only to find the fishermen trolling close to shore had tangled my line with there line.

A much sadder memory occurred that day as well. I ventured in the area where my Uncle Carl died in 1976 while hunting waterfowl. We arrived as he was being brought out of the woods.That was a memory I cared to not have.

A few of the many photos have been included below.

Bald Eagle

Last October, Laurie and I, after visiting Todd Sanctuary for a hike spotted a Bald Eagle on Buffalo Creek. I managed quite a few photos of the beautiful bird. The eagle was feasting on a dead deer and did not want to abandon the easy pickins.

Unquestionably my most favorite time to hunt deer is with the flintlock rifle. “OLD JACOB” is the name christened to him in honor of the Kit-Han-ne war chief, Captain Jacob. He was a Delaware warrior during the French and Indian War and was killed in 1756 in, what is now, Kittanning, Pennsylvania.

OLD JACOB is fifty caliber flintlock rifle made in the Andre Verner style from the latter eighteenth century. This particular rifle has taken more deer than I can remember.

The primitive season always begins on the day after Christmas. I am almost exclusively alone in most areas I hunt. Another reason to enjoy the season.

This year I harvested two deer within the season. The first one went approximately a hundred yards and the second one moved about fifteen yards. I butchered them myself and this year made all the meat into burger. I kept some meat back for jerky.

I saw a lot of deer this season with seven hammer cocked scenarios. Most non-hunters can not believe I can be as close as eighteen steps away to thirty steps and not get the shot. Much can happen when deer are close. One problem is getting the rifle up to the shoulder without being spotted. Terrain and underbrush ca, also, bring about failure to shoot.

I did see one buck in the season, but I believe he was a six-point which is illegal to shoot in Pennsylvania. The last day was January 18th. I told my wife I was only going to go hunting if the ground was white and it snowed. Around ten-o’clock while still hunting I spotted a doe feeding at about thirty yards. I prepared for the shot when my thoughts abrupted me into deciding I didn’t want to shoot the deer. I allowed it to walk broadside offering a great shot. I am totally satisfied with the decision. I went home to work at cleaning the firearm.

One other day found my sights on a doe. Two of this year’s fawns came up behind kicking their legs into the air in a playful mood. I didn’t shoot.

A shed.

Fox Squirrel

Hickory Hulls

Old Jacob and my possibles bag with homemade powder horn.

I was almost to the top of the steep hill when I first heard the yelps. I wasn’t all that far with an estimated hundred to hundred and thirty yards distance. I yelped back before moving on to set up on the top. Soon I heard what I had hoped to hear and that was a booming gobble. I immediately gobbled back using my own abilities. He answered.

I completed setting up before calling more. The tom was answering my calls and was definitely interested. The timing wasn’t too long before I saw the black color ghosting through the trees searching for the source of his interest…ME!

In moments the bird closed in to within range and the shot boomed across the valley. I had a gobbler.

HOWARD MEYERS

The title mentions a tribute. earlier this day I found out about the passing of a dear friend, Howard Meyers. Howard and I go way back to sometime in the early seventies…I am guessing around 1974. The deal at the time was for volunteers to plant various trees on reclaimed strip jobs near Crooked Creek Park. We were to, also, erect two turkey feeders along Cherry Run which is a tributary to Crooked Creek. Here I met Howard. We immediately were friends.

Howard was a Pennsylvania Deputy Game Warden before moving to Greensburg, Pennsylvania. from his home, Howard and I tried to get in some spring gobbler hunting and fall turkey hunting in the Cherry Run areas. the one fine memory I have is a time we doubled with fall jakes.

Howard and I were both active in the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. We attended many meetings during our “heyday” years.

Howard and I kept in touch after our federation days. He had moved to Clearfield, Pennsylvania so we didn’t see each other often, but we talked on the phone.

So, old buddy, rest in peace.

Witch Hazel

The Side of the Mountain

The pen and ink art, “SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN” was done recently. I was going through old files and notes and found an image I had sketched many years ago while at work. The sketch was only about two by four, but for some reason I filed it.

The above art doesn’t resemble that sketch at all except the fact of a deer coming round the side of the mountain. After viewing the sketch I decided to use that inspiration and quickly penciled in an image followed by pen and ink details. Hope you enjoy the art.

Box Turtles

I usually see Box Turtles in the spring and early summer, but I was surprised to find three while hunting this fall.