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Leftover Deer

Red-tailed Hawk

I have a tradition from many years of supplying the local wildlife at the house with some grub. I take the ribcages from my harvested deer and place within tree limbs. I stand in amazement just how quickly the backyard wildlife takes advantage of this fresh supply of meat.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Yesterday, I harvested a deer. early this morning at dawn I carried the ribcage to the back yard. Within several minutes I began hearing crows in the trees announcing breakfast. However, before long a Red-shouldered Hawk was photographed upon the carcass. Later the crows began devouring. I spent time in Butler and upon arriving home a Red-tailed Hawk was eating his fill.

I have seen a Cooper’s Hawk several times after birds at the feeder.

Many species of small birds enjoy eating from this food source over the winter.

A Christmas Open House was celebrated at the Armstrong County Historical Museum and Genealogical Society on November 28. The old building looked good with the various Christmas decorations.

Members of the 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Living History family worked hard to decorate and allow all of the visitors to feel the season in a Victorian-style. The men and ladies of the group were dressed in period Civil War era clothing.

Cookies and drink were free to those in attendance.

Many visitors arrived to see the museum and what is offered to observe.

the museum is located at: 300 North McKean Street in Kittanning, Pennsylvania.

Success on a Snowy Day

November 29, 2021 was the third day of Pennsylvania’s annual deer season. I had hunted the first day but only saw five doe. I often hunt only for buck deer on the first. This year was no different. I didn’t hunt the second day.

This morning was a beautiful time afield spreading peace and solitude all over. The heavy snow on a calm morning made for a great stress relief. With so much going on I sure utilized the mood.

I sat for a time before beginning to sneak around searching for a deer. This day I had decided if I had an opportunity on a nice size doe I would harvest some meat. As I ventured slowly around, I would see a number of deer feeding or bedded. Some were small and others were not satisfactorily identified.

I came close to a posted border line where I could see across a hollow. The landowner had timbered his property allowing for this opening through the woods. I could see a nice-size deer and I immediately felt the deer was a buck. I scoped the deer and just before he walked among some thicker brush, I could see a decent rack of antlers.

I could not go after this deer, but I know from experience of deer on that side of the hollow sometimes work down slope and come across the hollow. if it worked, I could possibly see this deer on the property I was hunting. However, this could take an hour or so.

I turned to work my plan when I saw a deer about forty-five yards or so. I scoped and didn’t see any antlers and I could tell by the head the deer was not this year’s fawn. I shot!

The deer took off and I knew I couldn’t have missed so I quickly took up the trail. About thirty yards I noticed blood. The trail increased until I found the downed deer. I had short “horns” and judging that fact and the size I knew this would have been last year’s deer.

The drag would be somewhere between close to a half a mile. I took my time and rested often. I am not as young as I used to be so I decided taking some time would be the best way to do this task.

Turkey scatchings.

A white dusting appeared over the landscape overnight. The snow was from the lake-effect winds over the Lake Erie. There was enough to help see better, but not enough to track any game.

I visited a property I had last been at, possibly, ten years ago. There had been changes. Much clear cutting was observed and rather recent. This will be a nightmare to maneuver in a couple of years as the brush covers the land.

As I walked in, I began to hear shouts on the next hill. Bear hunters were beginning to put on a bear drive. I decided to move away from their hunt and moved in a northerly direction. I soon remembered I had not been in this direction before so my venture would be an exploratory jaunt.

I still hunted up a hollow hoping to see a black beauty coming into the woods from a night of foraging in the cornfields. No such luck! t wouldn’t be long until I was exploring more than hunting.

A dusting of snow.

I walked upon about six ringneck pheasants. I would see a couple of squirrels and that would be it. Very weird is the fact that this morning and yesterday’s morning were void of deer sightings. It is extremely rare to not see any deer.

As the snow melted with direct sunlight, I reached the northern-most end of these lands and returned south via a different route. I told my wife I was only going to hunt about half-a-day because I needed to accomplish some things prior to Thanksgiving. Family would be coming to indulge at our place.

My venture this morning taught more about these lands for future bear seasons.

Male pheasant close-up.

There were some moments this morning (November 22) when I wasn’t sure if I would be heading out for the woods. Let’s just say I had some intestinal issues. However, I was not very late to meet the morning.

The area I planned to sneak around is one of familiarity. I have hunted this steep ridge a number of times over the years. It seems very “beary.” However, I have yet to see a bear at this area. The distance from where I parked to where the hillside ends may be around two miles. The northern steep slopes yield to Hemlock trees and Rhododendron. There are big diameter trees uprooted all around. the downed trees bring down other trees making for tree tops all about. This is good bear habitat, but moving about at my age can be demanding. I need to be very careful I don’t fall.

I walked very old remnants of logging roads whenever I can, but there are many logs across these roads.

This morning would see an increase in wind speeds and I became chilled at times. I was surprised to not see a single deer this morning although plenty of deer sign was visible. I walked upon a flock of, at least, fifteen to eighteen turkeys and managed a few quick photos. I saw a few squirrels, too. I heard and saw a flock of swans.

On the return trip towards the jeep, I walked above and below the way I transversed earlier, but I never saw a bear. I was hopeful. I heard a few shots north of my position, but, possibly, two miles away. later I heard some bear driving hollers, but no shot came about their efforts.

I returned to the jeep a little after noon and prepared to drive to another site until I realized I was tired and having some knee discomfort. I drove past another potential site and saw a much too open woodlands for good bear habitat. I elected to go home.

Puffballs

November 20 was the beginning of the 2021 Pennsylvania Bear Season. I was undecided as to where to try my luck, however, I knew of a small parcel of land in the Pennsylvania game Commission state game lands system. This land is a separate part of a local state game lands , but is less than thirteen acres in size. I had never visited this small land area and decided I would check it out on the first day and, at least, explore and see what was to be found.

I stopped at the dead end road at the site at daybreak and began an upward trek. I would learn that 98% of this game lands is steep hillside. The site is a beautiful piece of land with mixed deciduous and hemlock trees about. All surrounding areas are heavily posted. I could have sat down to hunt hoping on the luck factor of a bear traveling from the surrounded forests, but I elected to move westerly to the larger game lands. My curiosity had been satisfied.

I was almost at the parking site at the other game lands when I saw a game warden pull out ahead. We waved and I pulled behind a car with someone inside. I assumed he was a bear hunter and wanted to see if he was done hunting. He was done! He just received a citation for hunting deer with archery. He wrongly believed this was the last day of the deer archery season. He was in good spirits and realized his error.

I would tramp around until two-thirty in the afternoon hoping to still hunt upon a bear. It “tweren’t” to happen this day.

An old rusted bucket from the mining days.

The areas of northern Armstrong County are steep, hill hills and the old legs pushed on despite the discomfort, but I did well considering my age.

I had some deer sightings, a flock of turkeys, Grey and Fox Squirrels, Ravens and many species of birdlife. It was a great day.

The Lost Arrow- Black Bear

I have not been inspired to paint much as of late. there is a lot of issues I am dealing with, however recently I saw some birch trees while hunting bear with the muzzleloader. I took some notes and began sketching down an idea.

I found a panel I had prepared to paint on and decided that would be the size of the painting. The size is thirteen by eighteen.

My first drawing shown here found a liking for the composition. I used tracing paper and refined the sketch some. Once I was satisfied, I transferred the image to the pre-pared panel and the “slapping stage” began. People are amazed how the slapped-on paint evolves to the finished piece.

The original composition

I then start to refine the painting process. Detail work slows down the art, of course.

The original concept for this painting had Jack-In-The-Pulpit seed pods and ferns, but as the painting moved along, I chose an arrow and eliminated the other thoughts. the arrow is from an Eastern Indian bow and was lost while shooting at something in the days before the bear walked past. the bear gives the arrow a look with curiosity. The entire story behind the painting is up to the viewer. However, my original intent was the piece to be of a historical nature.

I have included some photos of the process for those who enjoy observing. I hope you enjoy.

The tracing paper transfer to refine.

Detailing begins

Black and white verson

2021 Fall Gobbler

Success

The first two days of the 2021 Pennsylvania Fall Turkey Season were rather noneventful in regards to finding turkeys. I did see plenty of deer over the next for days while afield. Lots of squirrels were searching for food preparing for the winter season.

Tuesday I was out early listening for roosting birds and failed to hear any roost chatter. The walk and call method was in place when I located fresh scratchings under beech trees. I moved ahead twenty yards or so and as I entered onto a gas line I noticed the turkeys moving upslope. I immediately began to rush up hill on the line and went about fifty yards in a run when my chest tightened up forcing a stop. The reason for this chase-down was to break the birds up and call them back. they will make quite a vocalization song trying to get back together. At one time a couple of the birds entered on the line above and within range. I didn’t shoot and watched eight to ten turkeys move up hill and out of site.

I walked into the woods to settle down and eventually began calling. I thought a bird or two may have went the other way. Within a short time I heard a reply and close. I believe I may have underestimated the distance for the woods went silent. I believe the turkey may have seen the shotgun being moved about. However, I continued calling and heard a couple of clucks and would glimpse maybe four turkeys in the vegetation.

I searched for the flock and, believe, they must have gone into posted lands. Later, I was preparing to head off I began calling. I didn’t hear any turks and once I began to go down over the steep hill towards the jeep, I heard something only to see a turkey about twenty steps away moving up the hill. The bird may have been coming in silent.

This morning I hiked the close to a mile distance hoping the birds may have ventured back into this woodlands yesterday afternoon. I was disappointed with not hearing any roost talk. I slowly moved back towards the jeep checking for any turkey activity or sights.

I left the area and drove to another site. As I walked up an old road and uphill. I saw another hunter moving towards me. he was dragging a buck. He had shot the deer yesterday evening and lost the sign. Today he came early and finally found the buck, however, the entire “Gut area” had been eaten away. The top of the hill is posted. The man was part of a lease.

his vehicle was on top and he didn’t want to drag the deer uphill. I offered to take him to his vehicle and he was very grateful.

I began a search for turkeys and spotted four birds at the edge of a right-a-way. I tried to get close and call but they had moved out. I walked about called and heard some turkeys behind. I angled up the hill and moved in for a break and I was successful.

I set up and soon began to hear responses from my calling. About half hour later two young gobblers came to the call and I bagged one at twenty-three steps. I messed around and called another couple of birds in before leaving.

Not the best of terrain for an old feller.

American Chestnut

Little Spike Buck

The deer on left was a decent buck, but he avoided the camera.

Dogwood Berries

More Bear Hunting

Dense fog over the Allegheny River

Thursday mornings traditional is breakfast at my mother’s place. Today, I called and said I would be hunting bear. She was disappointed, but she knows my hunting heritage is strong and she, also, knows I will be out more.

Note sunshine slowly engulfing the distant hills.

Thursday Morning: I entered the woods with a hint of light as I traveled down some sort of access road. I heard some turkey yelps and instinctively responded as I continued on. Shortly, I left the road and began a slight climb to get to the ridgeline. I was glad I did for I saw the fog over the Allegheny River again. North of my position the fog was dense appearing like cotton candy. Also, seeing the fog from a high vantage point helped to make the sight extremely soothing. I sat down on a log and watched for a time.

Not good bear habitat.

I still-hunted the ridge hoping to see a bear feeding on the acorns, but it was not to be this morning. The very open woodlands at this particular site is not the best habitat for bear, but with fall coming on and the bear’s need to eat encouraged me to attempt this hunt. Later I would be an old clear-cut. It, too, is growing up past the best habitat. I would see some deer and squirrels and I quit the hunt around noon due to the warming temperatures.

Buck rub

Friday morning I was at it again. This morning was different for the sky was cloudy and sprinkling. The temperatures were cooler, as well. I walked a township road until close to eight o’clock for the gloom of the morning made seeing in the woods difficult. Once I did enter I would be seeing some deer and more squirrels.

Eventually, I crossed back the road and began a trek towards an area I needed to check out. There is a strip of Autumn Olives along the hill. Bear habitat indeed. However, it was extremely dense and one couldn’t even crawl through. I decided to abort and circumvent.

I noticed a ladder stand near the edge of the dense mesh. I was in awe when I saw it. I nice buck was dead and only about twenty or so yards from the stand. I looked at the deer and could see nothing to indicate a shot and lost deer. the buck was an eight-point.

Although saddened to see such a nice buck dead, I moved on only to find some piles of bear fecal matter. The droppings were fairly fresh for last night we experienced heavy and hard rains. This scat was still firm proving it had to have been made since the rains.

I walked to my left and didn’t go far when I saw the woods were posted. I reversed and moved along the Autumn Olive and sat for time while the rains fell. Movement caught my eye and a deer of the year walked past me at about twelve steps. My camera was in my shoulder bag due to the rain and I missed some great woodland shots. I left the woods about eleven to go home and dry out. Tomorrow I am hunting deer with the flintlock.

Aspen leaves in color.

I was sneaking along looking for a nice doe when I noticed a little movement below me. I believed the movement was a turkey so I hurriedly prepared my camera. I began doing a little calling and heard an answer.

Within a short time I saw turkey s moving about well within shotgun range. However, it is NOT turkey season.

The calling began to intensify including gobbling as a flock of birds moved in on me. I mean they came under twelve yards from me. They were curious but not alarmed at the strange mass before them uttering turkey talk.

Needless to say I took a lot of photos during this encounter. Here are a few of the photos.