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Archive for December, 2014

Venison For Me!

The morning was short, but interesting. Light rain was present as I prepared to leave the home. Later, this would change to snow.

I crossed Cherry Run and walked about forty yards from the road when I saw a deer laying to my right. In those fleeting thoughts, I wondered if the deer was hit by a car or was shot poorly and ran down in the creek area. The very next instance, I realized the deer was a doe and just bedded at this site. Before I could get the rifle on it the deer jumped and headed deeper into the woods. The deer was bedded sixteen steps from me!

DSC_0010    I continued on and settled in awaiting the dreary gloom to lessen. I consciously hoped a deer wouldn’t show up in the distance. I knew identifying the deer could be a problem.

The squirrels were out extra early this morning and I could hear a few turkeys across the hollow. (I would later see a turkey high in a tree.)

At eight o’clock I left to do some sneaking around.  Approximately a half hour later, I was looking at a deer at thirty-eight yards. The shot was true and I, now, had venison. I had used the Remington 760 in the 30:06 caliber this day. I had a short prayer of thankfulness as per my tradition. The dark weather and open sites of my flintlock would be difficult to use in the darkened morning light, but the shot would have been great for the flintlock. The doe was a small one, but the drag would be easy.

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A Deer For Bob

 

Bob and his deer.

Bob and his deer.

I had a great day afield. I saw a lot of deer and passed on a several shots waiting for perfection I guess. I have been hunting with my Andrew Verner style flintlock affectionately called, Old Jacob! Open sights and one shot and having a miss yesterday had me waiting.

My step father, Bob and I were watching seven deer feeding in a field and we planned a strategy. We went around in a semi-circle to close the distance and observe their movements. We succeeded and watched the seven go up and over a rise in the field. We had to do such actions to get the deer into a place for safety reasons.

I told Bob to go down the slope and bare right to watch a certain side of the hill where the deer often move through. I continued to make an arc around the area to move in and hopefully locate the deer.

I entered the woodlands when I saw some movement behind a pile of treetops. For an instance I thought I was seeing turkeys before realizing the movements were deer ears. In a second deer exploded and headed towards Bob. BAM!!!! Bob got a deer!

After congratulations and the story Bob tagged and dressed the deer. I volunteered to the dragging as Bob would go and bring his truck to a meeting place along the township road. this would greatly shorten the drag.

I continued to hunt seeing more deer and a flock of about 25 turkeys.

 

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Missed!

This past Friday after I came home from deer hunting inner thigh leg pains began surfacing again. By early evening the pain became intense to the point I had to walk around on all fours. Pain pills eventually soften the pain. I wish I knew what causes this issue on occasion! Saturday, I was still hurting enough I felt I should refrain from pushing myself. Later that afternoon we had supper here for my mother’s 85th birthday. (Ruth Smail Miller) Today, the 8th, I went deer hunting with my flintlock rifle, Old Jacob. My plan was to hunt for buck only until around 9:30 A.M. before opening up the possibility for harvesting an antlerless deer. The first deer I saw was of unknown gender. The dense brush prevented identification. I set down and the next deer to see was a doe and her young fawn of the year. These two came within thirty-five yards of me, but I held to my personal agreement. The third deer too was let go. I saw two more around 10:00 o’clock, but they were too far to see well. I continued still hunting when I spotted the back of a feeding deer. I saw a second doe too. I had some great potential shots, but I couldn’t take them because of the angle and a road and houses in the distance.  I waited and watched as the two fed behind a screen of brush. Eventually, they moved to a safe zone, but the brush obscured them. At one point I believed the shot was a doable one and I missed! I hurried the seventy yard site and watched the two deer go farther along. I spent almost two hours zigzagging around ;looking for a down deer or signs of a hit. What happened? Was the miss due to brush? I remember bending over to shoot. Was I off balanced because of this? Or did I just misjudge the distance and miss?  Regardless, I am happy to have had missed instead of wounding the deer. The leg pains were not very bad this morning. They were intermittent. I am happy to say since I came home from hunting the pains hasn’t become prominent. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

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Yes this morning was a great day to be in the woods. I didn’t get a buck, but if events would have been slightly different the result would have been venison.

DSC_0006   I should fill in a few days since I neglected to post anything recently. Wednesday, December 3, I hunted for half a day. I saw my first deer immediately upon entering the woods. I could not identify the critter due to brush.

My hunt followed with a jaunt through a pine forest area. Here I heard    DSC_0008turkeys on the roost. In a few moments I heard more birds across a hollow. I smiled knowing how had I tried to locate birds on different occasions and, now, here they are!

I settled in to watch in the gloom of another dreary day. Three snorts soon erupted near me. The wind was right for my presence. After a short time I noticed a hind leg of a deer. I could see other deer parts as they moved around. eventually three doe walked past me.

I spotted movement to my left and , you guessed it, twelve turkeys walked through an opening. there used to be thirteen in that flock. I wonder where that extra bird went?  Oh yeah, I remember, the gobbler went into my freezer!

I still hunted around the area seeing more deer and squirrels, but no antlers. I quit around noon to stop and visit my mom and step father, Bob.

Thursday, December 4th found my hide spending much of the day at the Armstrong County Museum.  I talked Indians with four groups. they were a great bunch of young people!

This morning, I watched the weather closely. There was talk of freezing rain in the early hours turning to rain later on. I left the house after seven o’clock to hunt deer. This has been a most gloomy deer season thus far.

My approach to where I had intended to park found a big deer standing exactly where the jeep is stationed on many hunts. The deer’s head was hid by roadside brush. The deer moved and I proceeded to drive when another buck walked off the hill’s side within an easy stone’s throw. The rack was nice and even and legal. I couldn’t see the width eat the angle I was observing the deer, but it was nice.

I parked and could see the deer standing about twenty yards between the road and the creek. It turned and moved into the brush.

I exited the jeep only to see and hear a turkey flush directly behind me. I looked over and could see three additional deer. they appeared to be all doe. I began to walk in to hunt and a cottontail rabbit ran off. I thought this is going to be a great day in the woods.

I eased up the hill trying to decide what course of action would be best to overtake these deer. I decided to allow my instincts to guide my way. the hunt was on. I walked about a quarter of a mile searching for anything looking like deer when I spotted two deer to my left. They were feeding long. I moved towards them and could see deer were bucks. I moved silently to close the gap. I scoped the one buck and could see approximately 16 to 18 inches of antler width. I failed to count the points. They moved deeper into the brush and I circled.

My circle was closing in when I saw the doe ahead of me followed by two buck. Here is where I messed up! I turned left and went down over before turning right to watch a deep hollow and the edge of the hill. I wished I would have stayed on the deer. I lost them after this maneuver. I circled around much of the morning and never saw them again.

I did see another nine doe and one unknown deer prior to quitting around one o’clock. the last three deer stalked. I knew they were doe, but I approached to with easy bow range as they fed along. The mother doe eventually turned and walked past me followed by her two fawns.

Saturday, the weather people are calling for  much rain. The 6th is, also, my mother’s 85th birthday!

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I began my travel across  the creek and up the hill after seven o’clock. I wasn’t in any hurry. I was going to still hunt as I moved towards the area I planned to stay most of the day.

Cherry Run

Cherry Run

A dreamy gloom encompassed the woodlands as I slowly eased through the pines. The warm and rainy weather certainly didn’t have my thoughts in a hunting mode. I am just following my family traditions and heritage at this time. I had made a decision to not take any legal buck thinking of hunting with flintlocks once the antlerless season came in. A style of hunting I much prefer! However, I have been at this place before and sometimes the hunter instincts takeover as I thought of last year during the early flintlock season. I passed up shots trying to get a deer close to my step-father Bob when suddenly that instinct came over and I harvested a deer.

I love old logs...is that weird?

I love old logs…is that weird?

Very quickly after I sat down a deer materialized. It was a buck. The deer continued toward me. He ended up being a four pointer. I saw him twice during the morning. My camera was in my shoulder bag due to dark and damp conditions so taking photos was always a choice once eyes are gazing upon you.                                                      DSC_0020 Squirrels didn’t appear until after nine. They must have slept in as well. I heard and saw a flock of geese too. I heard a few turkey yelps behind me. By ten the temperatures were, obviously, falling. Rain picked up again and turning to sleet. The next stage was the big snowflakes. Bob saw sixteen deer including a nice buck. He couldn’t count the points. I saw fourteen deer all day. Some were does and others I couldn’t identify. I don’t see well in darkened conditions.

I apologize for the poor photo.

I apologize for the poor photo.

A highlight of the day was when I turned to see something white. It was a pie-bald deer with most of the body being white. I hustled to retrieve my camera. The deer allowed only one quick shot and I was greatly disappointed when the photo was blurred, but I expected that since the darkened woods and me hurrying and hand holding the camera was almost certain to be blurred. The deer allowed one chance and off it went.

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