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Archive for November, 2013

A Good Day

I had resigned myself that the 2013 fall turkey season would probably be a turkey less year. The leg issue, luckily, has been healing well. I had not hunted much at all this season!

Note remnants of an old stone fence.

Note remnants of an old stone fence.

The Pennsylvania bear season was over and the last few days of the fall turkey season began on Thanksgiving Day. This morning, I was entering the woods hoping to find some turkeys to hunt. I walked up along a hill and found where two turkeys had walked across a gas line yesterday. I left  their tracks and quickly moved towards an area where the birds sometimes like to roost.

The early horizon.

The early horizon.

In minutes I could see a turkey in a tree silhouetted against the pre-morning eastern horizon. I imagined more birds were scattered nearby so I closed in for a break. This is my preferred method of hunting turkeys. Scatter them, if possible, then call one back in. One lone bird flew from the tree. After a short break to listen I elected calling to see if the turkey might answer me. Nothing happened so off I went searching, and hoping, for a flock of gobblers I had seen a couple of times in October..

I called periodically as I walked along across the ice-crystal, laden snow cover. I wondered how hard it might be to walk up on turkeys. Suddenly, I received an answer and I set up to try to call the bird in.

Turkey scratchings

Turkey scratchings

I watched and called and as the yelps came closer the turkey sounds abruptly stopped. I pondered what could have happened when I saw the large dark animal move through the woodlands. I was seeing a fisher! I would see plenty of tracks as I walked along.

I circled around to close the distance where I had heard the turkey. Gobbler tracks were easily viewed. I approached the crest of a round top when the undeniable sound of nervously moving turkeys was heard just over the crest of this hill. I moved as fast as I dared and began hollering as I watched six to eight turkeys running and taking to the air. I could tell, at least, some were gobblers.

Fisher tracks

Fisher tracks

I walked through the break-up attempt zone and moved about a third of the way downslope on a steep hill-side. I called home to tell my step-father, Bob what had happened and if interested get here as quick as possible. He arrived about one and a half hours later.

IMG_1598  I began calling loudly using gobbler yelping. A full hour elapsed when I first saw the turkey downslope and to my right. The bird began walking up the steep hill and became lost to my view due to the terrain. However, I could hear him walking.

I spotted the gobbler and could see a beard dangling from the breast. His eyes went behind a tree allowing the Remington 870 sight to lineup. The tom walked from behind the tree and the 40 yard shot was true and a fine gobbler was down. My rule of thumb is to try to limit my range to about 35 yards, but details of the hunt wouldn’t allow any further chance due to tree tops on the ground.

The gobbler sported an eight inch beard and two 5/8 inch spurs.            IMG_1604

Other sightings were a handful of deer and some squirrels.

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DSC_0052  I received a shot to the knee last Thursday. Saturday was the first day of the 2013 Pennsylvania bear season. I wasn’t feeling all that bad in regards to leg pains so I elected with a plan to hunt bear.  The plan was simple. Walk little and set a lot. The place was around Cherry Run.                  

I should have known the day was not going to go well when I walked across an open area and a fourth of the way up a hill only to see my dome lights were on in the car. I trekked back and pushed the door tight and proceeded back up the hill.

I set for over an hour and decided to go further up the hill to check on the local corn field status. I was disappointed the corn had been harvested for I knew a local bear was feeding on corn at times. I had seen one here in October, but due to my leg issues I couldn’t get out for scouting prior to the season. The fact of not scouting was  not an issue for I was out in the woods enjoying the day! Seeing any bear would be  a plus.                                                                                    DSC_0059

I returned to set  for a time but the urge to travel couldn’t be suppressed and off I went! The walk aggravated the leg and I knew I shouldn’t press the walking much for fear of a much worse situation.

I walked down slope and began to see a helicopter moving around. This guy must have been an anti-hunter for he seemed to just hover around me picking up debris from the seismic devices scattered everywhere. He chose to stay around me. At one point I could have hit the chopper with a stone if I had a good enough arm to do so. I became aggravated and decided to head home.                                                                                 DSC_0063

I had seen a number of deer and some squirrels. I heard no shots or saw any hunters.

DSC_0067  Monday morning found me in northern Armstrong County. A total of 4-5 inches of snow was present on the ground. I elected to walk in search of bear tracks. The temperature was cold and I realized setting was not a good option. the leg was doing very well as I walked about in search of tracks.

I saw plenty od deer along with their tracks and coyote and fox tracks. I saw some grouse too but no bear. I felt good and still elected to hunt for half a day. The healing is happening and why push  walking although I, probably, did cover around five miles or so. I heard two distant shots that morning.                                                                                                              DSC_0065

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DSC_0029    Those who know me can relate my love for the outdoors at this time of the year. They’ll, also, relate to my love for hunting fall turkeys. This year due to leg pain issues my hunts are few and short.                                                                      DSC_0036

I utilized crutches for four days recently. I had leg pain so extreme I couldn’t walk and a specialist told me that he expected I had a blood clot. he sent me to the emergency room where ultra sound and X-rays proved I had an acute led sprain. I have been taking physical therapy.

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

The therapist told me hunting and hiking would not be the best thing I could do, but he didn’t say I couldn’t just don’t over do the excursions.                                      DSC_0039

The third day of the fall turkey season found me hunting for a couple of hours. I did see eight turkeys in a field and later I walked into them. I hollered with an attempt for a good break but failed. I could have harvested any of 4-5 turkeys at that time, but I prefer to call them in.

The following morning, my step-father, Bob Miller and I went out for several hours. We, both heard roosting turkeys. I decided to try my luck at long-range calling instead of hurrying across the hollow for a break. The birds went off feeding. Bob, later saw 10-12 birds in a field near to the roost.

DSC_0047  I had a hen flush in front of me, but I failed to try for a shot. That kind of turkey hunting isn’t the way I hunt, but maybe I should have taken her due to my experiences.

Two morning later I failed to hear roosting birds. the high winds effectively lessened any chance to hear far birds. However, I walked onto a bird on the roost. I debated taking the shot, but elected to wait.

All of these hunts were only a few hours at a time at the most. This is difficult for me, but the pains dictate how much effort I can do in my pursuit of a wild turkey.                               DSC_0043

I have seen beautiful autumn scenery. I have seen many deer including  a number of buck. I have seen lots of gray squirrels and a few fox squirrels. I even saw a cottontail. I had the pleasure of listening to a great horned owl serenading the early minutes prior to sunrise.

I will try to hunt, again, after a few days and challenge myself for a successful hunt.

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