Archive for December, 2011

I finally managed to get out to the woods to hunt deer with my flintlock rifle, Old Jacob. Monday I had Christmas family events to attend and Tuesday the skies allowed for rain all day. This morning I was disappointed when the forecasted snow was very scarce. However, during my travel to hunt the sleet was falling soon to be followed with fairly heavy snow. The constant snow did make seeing a little more difficult, but there is something about hunting primitively in inclement weather that attracts me. The winds were strong today too!           

Site of shot

The first two deer I saw were laying ahead of me. I saw the one rising, but I couldn’t get my leather hammer and frizzen cover off the flintlock’s lock fast enough. (I had this leather over my firearm’s lock to aid in keeping the snow and moisture away from the pan powder.) Bob, who was hoping for a chance on one of the deer I moved failed to see them since the two went opposite to him.

Bob later went in another direction and I began sneaking around. I watched three deer arise about 80 yards from me. They had much snow on their backs. Each deer looked as if a cloud of smoke emerged from their bodies as they took off. (Deer fur is hollow and of excellent insulation quality. Indians and early colonists would use deer hair in the mocs in winter.)     

Old Jacob

I circled the deer and later saw where they had crossed a gas well road and went down towards the creek bottoms.  My plan was to go around and still hunt the Cherry Run creek bottoms and search for them. However, it wouldn’t be long until my plans would change.

     I walked this gas well road when suddenly I saw two deer followed by a third deer cross the road just ahead of me. The three deer entered the thick woods and all turned to their left and came about 36 yards from me. I snorted and the lead deer stopped and in an instance the doe was down for keeps. I removed the ramrod and reached for the powder horn and measure. I realized I had no need to reload.

Later, after I met up with Bob I spotted a doe about 28-30 yards from us standing. I excitedly  whispered “Bob..Bob..Bob”  and said “to the right!” Bob only saw a brief viewing of the tail by this time. I could see the deer walking about in the crabapples. Bob couldn’t see it.

All told, I had seen fourteen deer and three squirrels. (Three deer were laying after I had already shot the one. I managed one fair photo in the brush.)

    I always hated to get a deer early on a hunt. I felt somewhat cheated this morning too!  Now I am without any deer tags and the weather is now beginning to seem like winter. Oh well, I can still chase some for Bob and Cousin Donny!    

Bird nest

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The dark hours were solemn. Laurie and I had attended a beautiful Christmas Eve service at the Kittanning Free Methodist Church. We, later, shared our presents to each other. We enjoyed the antics of Quincy, our ferret, as he played among the torn wrappings. Our Springer Spaniel, Suzie, even with her illnesses, enjoyed searching and squeezing her new toy. We sat in the living room with only the lights of the tree and the glow of candles. All the while the sounds of Christmas music could be heard from the stereo.                                  

Later, I exited our home with Suzie roaming the back yard looking for the right spot for her nature call. As the last evening, two great-horned owls exchanged their mating calls in the darkness. Both birds were close, but hearing them would be all for me. The birds set among the pines and hoot often, but seeing them is rare. Now with the mating season a realty for them their calls will be more prevalent at my home.

I thought while listening…What a perfect end for the Christmas Eve! Two owls calling in the quiet night much as it would have been that first Christmas. Peaceful!!!!!!!!! Solemn!!

Merry Christmas to all!                  

Suzie eating her pig's ear

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Bob Gets A Deer

    My step father, Bob Miller decided to go hunting after noon today. The day was rather mild except a breeze caused a chill to the under dressed or inactive. Lucky for Bob he didn’t have to wait very long to bag a deer. He walked to a tree and watched a field and in about twenty minutes this button buck walked out to feed. I expected the changes coming in the weather may have attributed to the early feed.

Bob had the deer field dressed and the drag started by the time I arrived to the location. I dragged to complete which was only a couple of hundred yards for me.

One of the first questions I asked Bob was, “how come yesterday you passed on a deer of the same size?” His only answer was that the deer appeared to be bigger than it was. Anyway congratulations Bob!     

Nimrod the Mighty Hunter (a.k.a. Bob)

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Bob Miller & Donnie Smail

  Moe, Curly and Larry, a.k.a. Bob, Donnie and me, spent the morning chill among the woods of Pennsylvania. My job was to walk about trying to move some deer past these two hunters. I have one deer tag left and I am waiting for after Christmas when the Pennsylvania primitive flintlock season begins. Everybody knows how I love to use the flintlock!

    Neither Donnie (my cousin) nor Bob (my step-father) planned on shooting anything but buck or big does. A light snow helped to see contrast in many places.

Donnie went into the woods about 6:45 since he was traveling deeper into the property. Bob and I were trekking several hundred yards and climbing a steep embankment to overlook a popular area.  The hunt was to change course after a hour when I would begin sneaking around. I saw three deer at this site.

Later, I walked around Donnie and saw a doe standing about 35 yards from me. Stupid me clapped my hands instead of reaching for my camera that was still in my shoulder bag. I missed a great photo!                             

I see you too!

On my last push before noon I spotted a deer laying about 65 yards out. I called Bob and told him to get ready. I walked towards the deer and this deer continually refused to walk out of this thick vine; tree top and briar area. I saw it several times only yards from me.

      Finally the deer broke and ran up towards Bob and apparently saw him for the deer turned and slowly ran behind me and returned to the very area she originated from. I crept up and had this deer about 20 yards from me. I managed one photo through the brush. Later, Bob approached me and I saw this deer about 8 yards from me before she bolted. Bob said I will leave the deer for seed. 

Cousin Donnie

After some carrying on the three of us walked back to the road and spent thirty minutes talking with a local landowner. I saw 10 deer and two grouse this morning. I enjoyed the fellowship of kinfolk too. Laughter is the norm when the three of us get together.

I came home and laid down sometime after two and woke up at 5:20! The four hours of sleep the night before just didn’t cut it for an old man!

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Our Christmas Tree

    Laurie and I erected the Christmas tree today. This is not a holiday tree either!!  

The Christmas bear!

 Over the last several years our tree has been only about four feet high or so. One year we decorated the tree in an old-fashioned way. We used popcorn  strings; homemade gingerbread cookies; we made colored ribbon strips; turkey feathers; pine cones and even used an old robin nest!                                              

In the corner behind that tree I placed my smoothbore musket with hunting bag and powder horn. The entire feel was like the pre-Victorian era, something one might imagine in a country person’s home. We did cheat some by placing small lights around the tree.

Hope you Christmas is grand

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Great Morning Afield


Sun warming the tree tops

  Bob and I set up ny the old oak tree to watch a field for deer. We saw one earlier feeding in the field while driving along the road to park. I continued on walking, not driving, for deer. I am armed with a camera this day although I do have an antlerless tag left.

I circled back to see Bob, an hour or so, after I left him. Suddenly, I saw some deer legs in the dogwood-crabapple trees. The deer stopped and I could see a torso. The deer stepped towards us then disappeared. I notice the wind wasn’t in our favor.                

Later we walked down an old remnant of a logging road. I walked around and Bob saw 4 deer flying through the woods. The landowner’s grandson stopped by for a chat and meet Bob. I asked him if he a manual so Bob could identify a deer! Jon walked off as did we. Later he bagged a nice doe.

Show the man what a deer looks like!

  Bob walked over to watch a hollow as I circled around. Suddenly, right in front of me was a feeding buck. It had a small rack, but I didn’t wait to count points. I back stepped and hurried around towards Bob for the deer if he continued on would walk past him. However, the deer may have heard me running around. Bob saw the deer too!

Prior to exiting from the hunt we walked along when I saw what I believed was part of a laying deer. Further study positively identified the image as a deer. I studied the head with my field glasses and felt confident the deer was a doe. the only problem Bob couldn’t see it. I planned to circle onto a dirt road and approach the deer from below. Hopefully, this action would set the deer’s flight towards him. The deer had other ideas as it finally became unnerved and fled. Bob said he now saw the deer.

    We left the woods around 12:45 and I came home to cut up the deer some more and begin the jerky making. The early morning frost evolved into close to 50 degrees by noon.

I saw one squirrel and several grouse too.


I received a photo from my friend, Randy Tost. He bagged a nice buck this evening. Congratulations Randy!    

Randy Tost's buck- Tost photo

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Frosty Morning



  Bob and I entered the woods very early on a cold morning. The temperatures were somewhere in the lower twenty degree range and the natural world exhibited the traits of such temps. Frost was covering everything as the sun began to rise in the eastern horizon.  

Frosty fog

Bob snuggled up by an old ancient oak tree that stood guard to a field. My plan was to circle behind the field and slowly zig-zag my way through an area of mostly pines and spruces. This plan was not considered an organized deer drive by definition, but a walk to see what I could see with a possibility of moving a buck past Bob.    

Frost on trees

Although cold the walk was invigorating to me. I did move some deer out. A highlight of this move was to see the sun work it’s effects on the frost. Frosty fog was visible at certain areas with proper conditions to form it.

Despite the temperatures, the ticks were still available to se on my pants. They moved a “little slow at the junction”. (from the old Petticoat Junction show of the 60 era.)  While searching for a few on my pants I looked up to see the landowner’s grandson, Jon. It was great seeing him and we chatted for fifteen minutes or so. I left him telling him he’d better “marry that little girl”. I often ask him, when I see him, if he had gotten married yet. Teasin’, of course! I watched him since he was 12 hunt deer. He now is in his twenties! (I guess that makes me older too.”)   

Bob dropped over a hill’s ridgeline and I was going to work around hoping to move a buck. I circled around when I spotted a buck. The buck had a nice-looking rack. I couldn’t count points. I went back to Bob and moved him hoping for a long shot at working the deer past him. My attempts failed as I heard the deer walk up another hollow. Bob was ready to go home and torment my mother so we exited the woods prior to ten o’clock.

Frost on grass

  Later, I began cutting up the buck I shot yesterday and Friday , I guess, will be butcher day!

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