Archive for May, 2010

Sunday I attended the Wattersonville United Methodist Church for their annual Memorial Day Service. The church is a quaint little church that still has an old-fashioned out house and two pot-bellied stoves in the church. Great people there!  They are a laid-backed group where a dog may walk up the aisle and lay beside the piano.

Beside the Memorial Day Service another service was being held. The service of an unknown woman. An expert in the field claims the skeleton to be of a 5’4″  woman that had had several children. If any records exist as to how the skeletal remains became to be at the Armstrong County Historical Museum  they have yet to be found. The skeleton stood for an unknown number of years at the museum. Her remains stood upright, within a wood casket in a corner of the “Indian Room”.  I agreed to work as the “curator” of that room and we all agreed that she needed to not be there.

She was cremated and buried at the Wattersonville Church gravesite. On the tombstone the words, “A MOTHER KNOWN ONLY TO GOD” were placed. Her stone was near to a Civil War veteran exclaiming the same. He, too was an unknown, but as a soldier. Civil war reenactors were present.

As I stood there she seemed to have been known to all in some interesting kind of way.

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Bob and I were setting along a field line watching the full moon slowly hide behind the tree line. I heard a very subtle gobble. We waited and began a move in an attempt to locate the bird. The walk was brief when another tom gobbled. Unfortunately, he was  across a road  near a residential area. We continued moving about and was answered by another gobbler. We moved in and set up in a less than perfect site. We worked the bird until after 7:00 and he was very close prior to silence.  Bob learned valuable lessons this morning. I explained the importance of getting comfortable, watching the horizon line, (Both for the birds and the hunter’s back ground.) and especially NOT MOVING when a bird gets close. The latter can not be expressed enough.

My step-father, Bob choking my turkey from Thursday.)

I later shocked this bird a few times, but he and his new buddy continued working farther and farther away. We , later, heard the  gobbler again from across the road.  We quit around 9:30. My allergies were getting the best of me and the temperature was becoming very warm.

I didn’t tell Bob this morning, but, I was actually not feeling well. I ended up sleeping several hours.

I saw my first firefly early this morning. Other sightings of the day included a number of squirrels and one deer.

I have been listening for a couple of weeks now to the young screech owls in my nesting box.

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Laurie ran into the house shouting “baby raccoons in the back yard”. Of course, I see a great possibility for photos. The two little critters were about the landscaping. I imagine the parents are the ones that sometimes clean out the feeder. I hope they can manage to survive.


About twenty years ago, a similar experience happened in the yard. However, the raccoon was bigger. I placed my hand towards the ‘coon to make it move for a photo when teeth entered my hand. Two weeks later the neighbor saw a sick one. Needless to say, I ended up in the hospital going through a series of rabies shots. A LESSON LEARNED!

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I waded the high grass of the reclaimed strip and right-of-way and was rather soaked before I had even set down in the woods. Some of the grasses on the right-of-way were actually as tall as I am! I eased into the woods where the gobbler sounded off yesterday. To my surprise at 4 minutes after five a gobbler erupted the pre-dawn woods in the wood lot where I was set up yesterday.  Turkeys!! Never figure ’em out! 

I was in a rather dangerous position. I elected to sneak around and re-cross the right-of-way in hopes of not being detected. I seriously doubted the birds would go through that tall grass. This maneuver worked! I crept in and set up with a huge oak to my back. I had a dream set up position. The turkey was ahead of me in an open wood lot. A high soaking grass area to my right and a low grass-covered farm lane to my left spoke of a great advantage. There was a slight saddle ridge in front of me and the morning sky illuminated the horizon line. This meant any movement would be magnified.  

A second tom exploded. I was close. The time slowly edged along until one tom flew down over the bank. In short order I watched the second tom fly down and towards me.  Things were looking good!  

The close tom started gobbling and moving. I held the shotgun in a ready position when I noticed a gobbled to my right. The closer gobbler moved up towards  him. The amazing thing of interest as to how the bigger bird actually stopped exactly in front of my sight.  The shot was at 26 yards.  

Spurs of 1 1/16 inches


The gobbler sported a ten 1/4 inch beard and 1 1/16 inch spurs. He weighed in at 22 pounds.  

Other sightings of the day included one deer and two red fox puppies. The pups were near my old homestead.

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I discarded the inedible turkey parts in the woods. This has been my custom. I believe the feathers will go for nesting materials and the remains will return back to the earth either through consumption by other wildlife or the natural processes. I continued up over the hill to try for another gobbler with my second tag.  I reached the top and scanned the beautiful Cherry Run hollow to wait for dawn. I could hear the usual warblers beginning to sing and chirp happily. I could hear a whip-or-will ending his nocturnal calls.

A gobbler sounded off and I rapidly approached his roost and set up for calling. I heard a hen doing some soft tree yelps near to the bird. I wondered what all of this might mean for the next hour of hunting.  I heard something moving at my right. I turned to see two ‘coons closing in. I had to stand up before the two would run off. I got back to listening and calling.

 Amazingly, the big bird slowly began approaching my calling site. At one time, I actually placed my finger on the safe believing the deal was about to be completed.

However, the turkey worked around to enter a field’s edge. I could see him, but he was out of range. The turkey’s desires waned and by 7:00 he became silent after walking through the field. I had heard two other gobblers off in the distance.  I made a short tour of the area. I heard one hen and later saw another tom in a field being harassed by a blackbird. The turkey, apparently, had wandered close to the blackbird’s nest.

I walked into the area where I had heard the yelping, and watched a hen fly down the hollow. I was getting very warm (at 8:30)  and decided to call the hunt off, dig some ferns and head home . Afterall, I had work to do.

I could see where someone had driven along the field very early and was saddened to find a box turtle that had been run over. Always a sad thing. Turtles don’t have much of a chance in today’s world of roads and vehicles.

Other sightings included both grey and fox squirrels.

I took some photos of this old truck that has been resting in these woods all of my life. I expect it is from the 1940 era. I guess the vehicle could be from the very early 1950 time frame. Anyone know?

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I tried, once again, to locate a gobbler at my favorite area. Nothing! I was blessed to play around with two buck. One buck had an impressive rack going. I could see six points and the height was about 3 inches over his ear. The other buck had four points. I took some photos, but , the low light and hand holding of the camera caused blurred photos.

I decided to try another area once again. I was walking up an old logging road when I heard a gobble across Cherry Run and way down the hollow. Of course, I went after it. Eventually, I located above the bird. I settled in afraid to go any closer due to an open woods. I called and the gobbling began again and went quiet.

I waited and called again and two gobbles exploded the woods. I waited and the next gobble was closer. I called and received an answer. I shut up and resisted the temptation to call again.

Time crept forward and I believed he was sneaking in on me. Suddenly, to my left and CLOSE I heard him gobble. One of those close gobbles that  you make jump internally. I could see his head through some low multiflora roses. I couldn’t see his beard. The turkey was about 18 yards away. He was the dominant bird.

Another gobbler appeared  and I could readily see his beard. I feared this bird would see me soon and give an alarm putt. The shot was 22 yards and , at least,  five turkeys exploded into the air.

The turkey, I harvested was a two-year old tom with 7/8 inch spurs and a 9  7/8 inch beard.  Needless to say I was happy since I had been out, at least a couple of hours,  every morning since the gobbler opener.                                                         

    (Ferocious Calls– Full Choke box call)


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I arrived very early and sat down hoping to hear a gobbler. No luck! A deer snorted at me in the darkness. It, probably, smelled my banana.

A began a tour of the area and failed to muster and gobbling. However, I visited the hen and she was still on her nest. I hope she has a successful hatch.

The contractor was to arrive this morning for a final amount of work. I decided to visit another place and give it a try. I was walking and calling when suddenly two gobblers appeared to my calling. They saw me and exited back into the woods. I couldn’t see their beards due to high grass. I believed they were, probably, jakes.

At one point, I could hear something coming and was shocked when a Rottweiler and pit bull appeared and began barking at me. When they began approaching me I hollered and they stopped their approach, but didn’t leave me alone. I walked out watching them closely. I stayed out until 11:15 when the heat was draining me.

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I decided to go out and chance the rain this morning. I gave Susie her insulin shot and arrived to the woods at 7:30. The rain started again shortly after I began my trek into the woods. At 9:00 I was soaked and went home to check on the contractor driveway work.  They were to cut expansion joints into the concrete.

I saw a couple of deer and squirrels. I heard a grouse drumming and found a box turtle.

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I told myself there would be three things I knew would happen this morning. One was a prediction that no birds would be around me today. Another thought was that I would not go across the creek after that bird today! The last one was , if I went after a far off bird he would be done gobbling when I arrived.

No gobbling at the usual site. One prediction down. This is only the second time no gobbling was present. I did hear the same bird across the  creek again. The second one was a failure for after the turkey continued gobbling at 6:15, I made a dash to get in his area.  Number two failed for I did what I said I wouldn’t do!

When I arrived in the area where the bird was gobbling I was greeted with silence.. Two out of three!!! I am beginning to lose confidence with myself. ( I may need to hang on to some of the feathers I find in the woods like the one in the photo.) The next couple of hunting days may need to be postponed due to the shots of insulin for Susie. Laurie should be back on Monday. I may get out later in the day. Next week looks very warm with highs in the 80 degree range.

I left the woods by 7:15 since the driveway contractor would be home to do the cement work.

Susie got past a barrier in my garage today and wandered out across the newly poured cement! Luckily for me the workers fixed  the paw prints before the cement set.

Other sightings of the day were one deer and one squirrel. Also, I found a deer antler shed today.

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Bob and I set up very early with high hopes that the old gobbler would be roosting in the same area. We were disappointed when he failed to gobble. In fact, this would be the first time in almost three weeks a gobbler didn’t greet the morning. However, I heard one across the road and Cherry Run Creek. He was done gobbling prior to six o’clock.

I discussed the situation with Bob and he said he wasn’t going to stay out long. Bob is in the completion stages of having his 1954 Chevy completely refurbished. (The car is looking good!)

I went over and mustered one shock gobbler  from very far away. That was it.

I hurried to another area since I had to quit early for the driveway contractor. I called and was immediately cut off with such a racket from a hen…. a mother hen with poults. I saw 3-4 little ones about the size of my fist. I continued using kee kee whistles and she went bonkers. The interesting fact is she had a beard. (Legal in Pennsylvania)

                                                                                           (A bearded hen.)

Other sightings of the morn included: approximately 12 deer; lots of grey squirrels; a fox squirrel and bear tracks again.

When I arrived home the driveway work had begun. Hopefully, tomorrow the bulk will be completed. 

 (Note the hen turkey & deer tracks with the front foot track of the bear.)

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