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Archive for January, 2013

Winter In Pennsylvania

Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk

Recently we experienced spring-like temperatures in Pennsylvania. The temperatures reached into sixties! A week earlier we were in the single digit numbers making for some cold times.

I found some time to go and do a short hike on Wednesday the 30th. I placed some deer ribs into a woods to help some little wild birds make it through the remaining winter season. Later on I went a short distance to State Game Lands 247 for a hike. The mild weather forced me to roll up my flannel shirt sleeves. I saw two deer.

Prior to leaving, I carried the feed sack that I had hauled the deer parts out and gathered a bag-full of glass from the woods of the game lands. Why people insist on carrying their garbage out to the woods is beyond my thinking! I will take the glass to the recycling site later. The walk and outdoor excursion was short-lived for by 10:00 A.M. the rains began followed by some high winds. Today, we had high winds, snow and temperatures in the twenty degree range. Tonight the temps are to reach the teens. Like I said in the title: Winter in Pennsylvania!

A rare visitor to my feeder. A yellow-bellied Sapsucker

A rare visitor to my feeder. A yellow-bellied Sapsucker

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DSC_0001  My, rather new, Muck boots had been patched after a large rip from the day’s hunt before. Why do I have such lousy luck when it comes to hunting shoes or boots? Today would be a good day I hoped.                            DSC_0002

I circled around to do a repeat of yesterday’s dogging experience. Donnie and Bob were on watch. I spotted three deer in their beds as I pretended to not see them. It worked they remained in place. maybe later we could use these three on a push. I see two more deer as I begin the drive, but both exited the opposite direction from where the two stooges were.

I reached the tw hunters and gave a report as did they. I went up and over the hill to work the back side first. I would, upon completion of this, circle around and come through the opposite side of the hunters. Yesterday this worked like a charm as the old sayin’ goes.

DSC_0005   I completed the back slope and upon entering the woods spotted several deer fleeing low in the woods. I backtracked a bit and went to their level and began moving again and moving diagonally when a shot was heard ahead of me. Bob had shot! Bob had missed! Donnie couldn’t get his flintlock into position fast enough!                                               DSC_0006

We followed out the tracks for quite a long way to be sure a miss occurred and it did. I tried to locate the three bedded deer after this and the trio had moved away, no doubt, desiring to feed some with the rising sun and warming temps.

DSC_0016   We all went to ma’s for some backed ‘sketti before returning to hunt. the second push pushed deer around. Bob saw a couple and Donnie saw nine. The deer spotted him and as he tried to get his gun into position. Shortly some bolted and a few remained around offering Donnie a shot in thick brush. The shot failed to connect.

We had to quit hunting around 3:00 since Donnie had a committment for 5:00.

Clear cut area

Clear cut area

Overall. I had 14 deer sightings; a squirrel and a grouse. I, also, saw two stooges off and on all day. By the way, the third stooge was me!

'possum tracks

‘possum tracks

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DSC_0001 The skies were various hues of orange and red as Bob and I  approached the pre-determined meeting place with cousin Donnie. I had seen two deer while in transit and Donnie watched three enter the strip of woods we were planning on hunting.

I, as the dog, had the job of walking about chasing deer. I’ll soon be barking and lifting my leg on hydrants!

the first drive was actually was a two-pronged drive. I was to circle around and come towards Donnie Boone and Bob Crockett from one direction. Upon reaching them, the plan was for me to go up and over the hill to a field before circling and coming towards the boys from the opposite direction. The drive works. They saw two deer going in one direction, but not offering any shots.                                           DSC_0002

The second part of the drive pushed around 8 deer past Donnie and a red fox! Donnie raised and fired and a deer dropped only to get up and take off. He, of course, felt bad about the shot. he said he hastily shot before he was ready. I saw the deer down in the snow ahead of Donnie as it raised for the take off! I am not kidding when I say “take off.”

After we realized the deer wasn’t down ahead of us the painful tracking began. I say “painful” for the deer wouldn’t stop and attempting to unravel many deer tracks was to be a chore at times. The deer continued to circle the hillside until it finally broke and went straight up over the hill right past Donnie, but on his right side. (Donnie shoots left-handed, so the deer wasn’t in place for him to get turned around for a shot.) the deer entered the field and made a complete 360 degree circle running past Bob at full speed. (Donnie, however, did see the hit on the deer. It was in a non-vital area below the back bone and above the vitals. This made us happy as the rains began.)

The search for the deer included several hours of trailing and well over a mile in chase. We were getting soaked and concluded the deer was seemed to be doing very well since it had apparently went down the hill and crossed the road.

We decided to head home and both decided to shoot the flintlocks off since the rains had become very moderate. Both firearms failed to go off initially until fresh powder was placed into the pans.

I had seen several squirrels and 4 deer and one grouse during my jaunt.

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A Hike With Friends

 

Frank (l) & Slim

Frank (l) & Slim

Past fellow workers, Frank Maus and Robert “Slim” Bowser and I headed for McConnell’s Mill State Park for some adventures in hiking. The park is located in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. Ninty percent of the conversation dealt with laughter found from our place of employment for many years. We laughed so much I had a dry and raspy throat!

Dam at the Mill

Dam at the Mill

After a nice breakfast, we quickly began our walking about the park. We first visited a waterfall known as Alpha Pass following a packed and icy trail down over a hill. The extra walking sticks were a plus in maneuvering the slippery areas.

Ice ring on water

Ice ring on water

Covered Bridge

Covered Bridge

Later, we stopped at the McConnell’s Mill site to view the beautiful and treacherous Slippery Rock Creek gorge area. Here an early mill is located built in 1868 after the first mill (1852) was burned in a fire. Also, on site is a covered bridge built in 1874.

Hell's Hollow Falls

Hell’s Hollow Falls

We hiked along the Hell’s Hollow Trail to see a three tier waterfall. Also, along the fall is a remnant of an old kiln known as Lime Kiln.

Alpha Pass Falls

Alpha Pass Falls

Hell Run

Hell Run

The hiking was beautiful with the snow cover and the clear stream known as Hell Run. Large rocks loaded with long-hanging ice could be seen throughout. Hemlocks contrasted the deciduous trees and snow making for great views to witness.

We saw a couple of squirrels; turkeys and a pileated woodpecker.

More hikes are going to be in our future.

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'SUZIE" in 2006    The litter of Springer Spaniels was born on February 6, 1998. March found two of these adorable puppies as permanent parts of the family. Bridget became the pet for my mother-in-law, Anne Craft and Suzie became part of the family of Laurie and myself.                                            DSC_01118                                                                                                                                              DSC_0007_edited

We immediately bonded. She was an obedient dog always trying to be the best she could be. I had to discipline her rarely. My loud voice and my “look” was all that was needed in most instances.                       DSC_011812

Suzie loved outdoor adventures. Fields and forests were always a joy for her until the years caught up with blindness.

The years went so fast! Suddenly the puppy was eight years old. Ten years crept almost in a blink of the eye.

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Suzie became very ill in February 2009. A visit to the vet confirmed diabetes. The outlook was bleak. the vet gave us six months to a year. A number of times illness came and I prepared for the worse.Suzie would come out of her condition and fair well again. Many a time she and I would walk around the yard and set. I prayed most sincere prayers. I truly believe her longevity was due to my prayers. She would improve and give us enjoyment again and again.                                DSC_00061

However, the years caught up with her.She almost reached her 15th birthday. The days prior to he passing were difficult for us all. She was becoming weaker and loosing control of her bladder. I kept my mother’s carpet scrubber handy using it to clean up the messes. Laurie and I began talks of what our options were. I tried to deny my feelings, but knowing we would soon need to make that dreaded decision so many pet owners need to make at times.

DSC_000224   Suzie, we love you!!!!  (February 6, 1998- January 4, 2013)

Suzie!

Suzie!

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What a Deer Day

I was part of our usual morning visit and breakfast at Bob and mom’s home prior to heading to the familiar haunts. The single digit temperatures never felt all that cold as I climbed the grade in search of whitetails! In less than 15 minutes I spotted 4 deer along a field’s edge. Yep, as the sun and temps were rising the deer would be feeding.

Over the next 40 minutes I passed up two doable shots in hope of better shots. Another instance found me creeping over a round top ridge and spotted a deer at about 35 yards, Old Jacob (My flintlock rifle) was aimed, but several pine branches were interfering and the extra second trying to find an opening unnerved the deer. I stalked another deer in the brush only to have a slight change in the breeze cause my stench to move the deer out!

The buck

The buck

I walked through a spruce and aspen woodland to check a bedding area without any luck. As I circled around I could see a deer’s body at about 50 yards distance. As I moved I could about the head became visible and WOW!!  I remembered this deer! This nice buck was traveling with the buck I harvested  during the regular deer season. He antlers are wide and actually much better looking antlers than the one I got! I managed some photos hoping for a better opportunity as the deer was among some goldenrod and briars! An antlerless deer was feeding around and I decided I wouldn’t shoot this deer in hopes of photos! The better shots never happened as the deer refused the openings.                                                      DSC_0004

I walked back around and I spotted the doe. She walked diagonally and started walking back on my earlier tracks. I followed her at about 30 yards on average but the deer never offered anything but a facing away shot until I cracked a small limb under the snow and off she went.

Later, I spotted a deer feeding in high goldenrod and multiflora rose brambles. The distance was close. I leveled the sights, but all I could see was the very head and white throat patch at times. I estimated the front shoulder and missed! The deer had moved her body enough that I totally missed. The deer moved about 8 yards and stood. I expected her to fall at any moment when she walked away. I hadn’t completed loading for another shot when she stopped. This is when I knew I had missed!!

I met Bob coming up a gas well road. he decided to come out as the weather improved. I circled around seeing more deer, but they went opposite the direction  I had hoped. As I continued circling I spotted a deer among some tree tops. The shot would prove to be 100 yards give or take. (I walked it off at 98 steps.) The deer turned and ran downhill. I quickly loaded and began tracking. A few drops of blood told me the story. The deer went over a hundred yards. I crept closer and shot again although I wouldn’t have had to do so. the front shoulder shot was true!

I saw a lot of deer this day and several grouse sightings. it was a good say to be in the woods!

IMG_0733                         DSC_0008

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