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My most recent paintings on Black Bear bones: Contact me if interested in purchase.

                                                                      

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Deer Everywhere!

Bob and I could see the colors in the eastern sky as we traveled to meet with my cousin, Donnie. The old adage about red sky in the morning must be accurate for around ten  o’clock the clouds had covered much of the sky overhead.

Prior to the clouds, however, the emerging sun made for some beautiful landscapes. One word comes to mind is vibrant. Since I tagged out for deer, I was to be the official “dog” again. This time my camera was the weapon of choice. I took almost seventy photos today as I pushed the woodlands for deer.

Chickadee

Bob and Donnie headed up a hollow as I circled below. I walked along a farmer’s lane with an acre or so of woodlands below me and the bigger woods above. I immediately spotted two deer bedded down. I used my brains on this adventure and walked past and angled downslope before turning directly towards them. It worked. The two deer entered the main section of woods and I heard a shot.  I began walking through the woods towards my kinfolk.

  I entered the hollow and could see Donnie had missed. I went up and over on their tracks to circle the back side of the hill. I saw a doe. I followed and  realized the deer were moving around to where the two hunters were waiting. Eventually, I came back around as well and spotted two deer in their beds. Donnie and Bob were just over this hill. I moved the deer and Bang!  the two doe went below Bob and he missed.

After discussion I went around them and circled  to try to move these deer back towards the hunters. I saw a deer feeding and moved it slowly towards the hunters. BANG!  A minute later…BANG!  A deer walked to within fifteen feet of me. Two more misses! This all happened by 10:30 A.M.

I would later see a racked buck.

MORE PHOTOS:                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                              

 

Bob (L) and Donnie

 

Redeemed

   Those of you following this site have noticed how I have expressed concern over vision issues. I am concerned as well for I have little information to  make decisions as to what to do next. Low light and nighttime vision is poor. Nighttime driving with my new glasses creates starburst imagery with everything that either is lit up or shines. I seem to see well just walking about, but sometimes clear focusing with my camera is observed to be lacking once I see the final photo. Sighting on firearms is very poor. I have issues focusing on the sights and the deer.  Having stated all of these issues my self-confidence was in need of boosts.

This morning I was to “dog” or push the woods for my cousin, Donnie and my step-father, Bob. I grabbed my 62 caliber smoothbore named Jeremiah to carry. This firearm has a front sight only and is much like a shotgun. The barrel has no rifling hence a smoothbore. Jeremiah is capable of sending a nice chunk of lead out of the barrel. However, because of the lack of rifling the accuracy suffers quickly. (Rifling: consists of a number of grooves or riflings cut into the inner barrel of a firearm. This rifling creates a spin on the lead ball or bullet which helps in accuracy and distances.)I have always tried to shoot forty yards or under, but I have taken some deer with this flintlock at yardages up to around 60 yards.

Close-up of Jeremiah. The powder horn was one of my creations.

 

I am a dog! My task was to push areas for deer. The second drive found about 8-9 deer very low along a creek. I was walking along a wood line to get into position to begin the push. when I saw the deer. they began to move out and I soon saw around six deer going up the hill across the road. I hoped some others moved around this side of the hill and would work along towards the kinfolk hunters.

  I started into the woods slowly and soon noticed a deer walking along. I watched intently as the doe began moving diagonally towards me. The doe

Coyote track

stepped behind a large tree and I hunkered down with flintlock in aim and cocked. She stepped clear of the tree and began moving broadside and the thirty to thirty-five yard shot was true. The doe expired very quickly with a heart shot. I felt redeemed some as I felt a little confidence return to my old bones. I gave thanks for the event and quickly tagged and removed the entrails. The drag was about three-fourths of a mile on snow.

The others saw some deer, but no shots were offered. I continued pushing until about noon.

 

Success!

 I hunted all day in the cold teen temperatures and wind. I mean all the day with no breaks for lunch or getting warm.  I pushed in the morning hours for my step-father, Bob. I saw a lot of deer.

At one time I noticed a deer pawing the ground at over a hundred yards. The deer bedded down. I could see other bedded deer, too. The woods conditions are still

Old Jacob my fifty caliber flintlock.

crunchy due to single digit temperatures and not enough snow to insulate the leaves and ground. I crawled on my knees and occasionally scratched at the leaves. I made the distance to about ninety yards before the deer began standing. they weren’t overly alarmed hence the slow walk over the hill. Bob saw the eight deer, but the distance was too long for a shot.

I saw two does moving along and I waited. later, once I realized they weren’t going to come my way I tried a stalk. I saw the one doe at about fifty yards and raised the flintlock and decided to not shoot since everything wasn’t focusing well.

I almost went home around 1:00, but that urge to hunt pushed me along. Good thing that urge did for I was still seeing deer. I watched a doe go downslope behind a fallen wild cherry tree. The doe saw me but stopped anyway. I watched for a bit and lost the deer visual. I eased downslope when I saw the deer farther down the hill. This doe worked along and began a slow feed towards me, but very slow.

As I watched and waited a legal buck walked past her at about fifty yards. The rack appeared to be about 16 inches across. The right antler had the three points up making it legal. The buck walked behind the down cherry tree as well.  Later, Two more doe showed up with him. There must be good food supply for they fed for a long time. I was behind a tree for over two hours often shivering. The buck walked below me again and bedded down.

The doe below me appeared close. I elected to wait to about thirty-five yards before shooting. Upon shooting the doe flinched and walked a short distance and stopped. I couldn’t see a hit, but I knew the shot connected. The doe laid down. Amazingly, the buck remained and the other two deer continued eating. After a wait I began approaching the doe I had shot. She jumped up and went a short distance. The next shot finished it. The time was 3:50 P.M.

 

The bedded buck.

2017 Flintlock Season

   The day after Christmas has always been special for me. The Pennsylvania primitive deer hunting season begins. I am a history lover especially of the French and Indian War and the War of Independence. That being said the lure of the flintlock has been an influence with me since my youth.

The weather for this first day was very cold and windy. Snow had arrived for Christmas although we received only about one and half inches. The woods were noisy and sneaking around was not easy.

I spent half a day on this first day of the season. (December 26) I needed to quit around noon to get ready to visit my in-laws for our Christmas get together. This day I was a pusher of deer for my step-father, Bob Miller. He would miss a deer during one of the drives. I saw eighteen deer during those hours with three deer very close. However, as what often happens, bolted just prior to shoot. Once the eyes make contact deer often react quickly. I saw a grouse this day which is something I hadn’t seen in these woods in quite some time. I would see the grouse again on the 27th.

Experimenting with my flintlock sights found much discouragement. Around 7:30, I raised the rifle only to see nothing. In this  lowlight condition my sights appeared very fuzzy and I couldn’t discern the front sight at all until conditions brightened greatly at around 8:30. I even use my old glasses for this problem improves with them. Nighttime vision is worse with car lights and reflective things looking like stars. This has been an issue for me. In fact I have been to eye doctor for tests several times since summer.

The second morning found me at a local game lands around 7:30 A.M. My plan was to sneak around seeking a deer in the brushy areas. However, I realized that the day before had seen many hunters since tracks were everywhere.

Around 9:30 I spotted a deer among grapevines and briars. I raised the flintlock but wasn’t sure of the gender enough to shoot. I looked through my field glasses and could see a bald deer. I raised the flintlock again before lowering it. I raised the third time and shot and missed. The forty plus shot had failed. Off and on I would raise this rifle in varying conditions in attempts to learn how to reshoot and align the sights.

I am seeing shiny “ghost images” of the sight as if I am seeing two sights. Anyone out there experiencing such issues?  Anyone have any thoughts? I am wondering about widening the V-cut in an attempt to make the front sight more visible.

I left this area and went to a favored area to hunt. I spent the day until three o’clock. I saw a total of nineteen deer this day, but failed to get anymore shots. Probably, would have missed anyway.

The weather was single digit with windy conditions. In fact the temperature only reached about 11 degrees for a high. This is not weather for setting on a stand for much time so I walked the entire time afield. Not bad for an old feller!

This morning, December 28, finds me committed in the morning and evening so I decided to not hunt since my time afield wouldn’t be many hours.

Recent Woodland Walks

 

Hermit Thrush

Mid-December the family were planning a trip to see the lights at Olgebay near Wheeling, west Virginia. I had a van in place for pick up, but cancelled the trip and van upon hearing of snow building up that very evening. I couldn’t take a chance to travel in potential conditions.

 However, the following day had about six or seven inches of pure snow. the roads weren’t bad later on and I decided to go for a hike and take some photos. The  woodlands were quite beautiful as the snow held close to limbs and tree bark.

Deer tracks were quite numerous as I walked along. I saw four throughout the jaunt. I managed to get a photo of, what I believe to be, a Hermit Thrush. I always see and hear these birds in the spring and seeing one didn’t quite seem right for mid-December.

I left the house on December 22 on a rainy and gloomy day. The rain was light initially, but later became more moderate. I went to a local game lands and was surprised at the amount of vehicles at all parking places. the Pennsylvania game Commission must have stocked pheasants and the word was out.

 

Mountain Laurel

I went to one parking place and pulled in. I was alone for now.  My hike would only be a couple of miles as I began hearing human activity over the side of a hill. I elected to pull out and allow the hunters all space.                                                                                                                  

Eagles

Recently I ventured out for some walking and picture taking. I went to Crooked Creek to hike. I walked a trail and eventually visited the dam area to see what I could see.

Juvenile Bald eagle

I lucked out for the Bald Eagles were active. I watched a mature Bald eagle perched high in a tree and later watched the beautiful bird fly about. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any good pics for the white-headed bird always seemed to stay high enough to make good photos out of the question.

 

Goose track

I spotted a couple of juvenile eagles on the ice and, later, watched them take to flight. Others would join them as six eagles soared in curcles above me. The birds would

Canada Geese

sometimes joust playfully. remember we are in the courtship phase of the eagles.

Other sightings included lots of Canada Geese. I could see mergansers on the water, too.

Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t prepared for the windy conditions so my setting quietly, watching and waiting for photos, could last for about ten minutes before walking was required to get the blood moving again.

I would see a few deer this day as well.  I spotted a Screech owl feather on the leaves. Searching about many other feathers could be found covering thirty or so feet. I couldn’t help wondering what had happed to the little gray-phased owl.

Screech owl feather