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Archive for November, 2015

DSC_0002 Bear hunting in Pennsylvania for the lone hunter is quite an experience. This kind of hunter (Me) has no person to follow, but his instincts. That is the way I like it. However, as I age I may need to rethink still-hunting to more stand hunting.

Pheasant track

Pheasant track

 

Last Friday, the 20th, I scouted the area I planned to hunt bear, the opener fell the following morning  of the 21st of November. I planned to concentrate in, and around, a recently clear cut hollow on a local state game lands. I found several piles of bear droppings. I knew bear had been in this area two to three days ago. Maybe a bear would still be sticking around.

Puffball

Puffball

DSC_0002   I walked about a mile on the first morning (Second morning here)while darkness still was the norm. I reached an area as the sky became colored  as the sun crept higher. It was a beautiful sunrise. However, prior to my arrival I was serenaded by a pair of Great-horned Owls. I stopped several times just to take their soothing hoots in. I smiled.                                                                                                                                          DSC_0004

DSC_0011  A flock of Canada Geese fly over minutes after the skies became  bright. I always enjoy seeing, and listening to geese. I saw four hen pheasants in the autumn olive thickets as well as one rooster. The next morning I saw this same rooster perched high in a tree.                                                                          DSC_0007

I left the woods earlier than I had planned due to severe knee issues.

I still-hunted most of the morning finding a total of fifteen piles of bear dung. They, too, were not “smoking fresh”. I talked to one hunter as he was coming in to hunt, and I was leaving.

 

My Jeep was parked behind the higher hill, in shadow, on the right.

My Jeep was parked behind the higher hill, in shadow, on the right.

The second morning (Third morning hunting)I  moved in to one area where the bear sign was most numerous. the food supply was still present, and I hoped they might be cycled back around. They were not around and no new sign was present.

The corn had been harvested.

The corn had been harvested.

Again, I saw geese. I patrolled around until after noon before leaving for home. I never saw another hunter.

The morning of the 24th found me in another area and game lands. I was near Mahoning, and could often see Mahoning Creek. This hunt consisted of still-hunting a steep northern exposed hill. I had hoped to find a bear in this habitat.

Bye!

Bye!

I heard the sounds of a screech owl this morning as I maneuvered into the early woods. Around 7:30, I heard bear hunters  way across the Mahoning putting on a drive. Five shots rang out…bear, coyote?

These hills spell Pennsylvania! They are big, and steep. No wonder I hurt so bad anymore. A lifetime of scrambling up, and down such terrain takes a toll! I returned back to the jeep around noon.        DSC_0008

I saw a number of deer, a grouse, and squirrels on these days afield. I feel blessed to be able enjoy times like these.

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No Rhyme Or Reason

LARRY RR CROPPED ORIGINAL with words  Those reading that heading are, probably, thinking what is he up to now. The answer is simple. The words, No Rhyme Or Reason, is the title of my latest CD.

The title came about as I searched for songs  while I was planning for the CD. Some were songs I just randomly found while searching. Some of the songs I had never heard before. As you can see the songs came about because of No Rhyme Or Reason!

I slowly chose songs over a period of time. Most are  of the traditional country sound. My voice is limited in range, so I tried to use songs I felt I could handle.

Do not even ask how many hours I have in putting these songs into this CD. I don’t know, but many, many, many hours were involved. Once a song was decided upon I needed to determine the key that worked well with my voice.  Words were typed, and arrangements were worked out.                  larry rr fog sepia new (2)

Every song has many tracks on it. Most of the fifteen songs have, at least, nine to ten tracks. I begin with laying down the rhythm, and bass guitar tracks. After these have been completed then anything goes. Some songs have, as many, as five to six guitar arrangements.

Songs include songs made famous by Ray Price; Keith Whitley; George Strait; John Fogerty; Hank Williams; Taylor Swift; George Jones, and Bob Wills. Yes, there is even a western swing song form the 1940 era.

My good friend, Marci Williams sang most harmonies with her melodious voice. This CD would be much less without her superb harmony styles. She, also, sang the lead vocals on two songs. I sang harmony on one, and she sang her own harmony on the other song. What talent! Marci is, also, an incredible artist!

Other friends worked on this venture as well. My good friend, Dick Vernon, did some steel guitar on a number of songs. Another friend, Billy Rich did some great fiddle work for that country sound. Both of these gentlemen have been playing music for a long time.

Two of the included songs are original gospel songs I had written. I wrote them during spring gobbler hunting lulls over a period of time. I did some keyboard work on one of these songs. That was interesting since I don’t play the piano! Somehow it worked.       Back page

My sister, Ruthie Wolfe did the photography, and text layouts. She always does a great job! I appreciate her talents!

If anyone is interested in obtaining one of these CDs, I am asking for a $12.00 donation. If I mail them out I am asking for an additional $3.00 to help cover costs of shipping, and mailing.

Thank you for your interest!

Larry A. Smail at 481 Butler Road, Kittanning, PA 16201

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Frosty Morning

DSC_0002  I entered the woods fairly early. I had hoped to enjoy some woodland time to think, and relax. I, also, hoped for some photo opportunities, and see some wildlife.

I love those Pennsylvania hills!

I love those Pennsylvania hills!

This would be the heaviest frost of the season around these parts. Some of the deep hollows had enough frost to look like a light snow!  I dressed for the colder temperatures however, I knew I would be warm as the day moved along.                   DSC_0013

I followed a hollow for about one mile, often drifting along old logging roads to explore. Eventually, I cam to a place where forward movement would be thwarted in a big way. Multiflora Rose brambles and lots of them!     DSC_0017                                                    DSC_0009

I realized getting through that mess would be next to impossible without a machete, so I went n reverse searching for openings to move up the hill. I wanted t explore an old high wall, too.

I moved along any opening I could find until I reached a place where the brambles had me surrounded again on three sides. I could see the summit up above at about twenty-five feet. I elected to plow through the best I could rather than go back. MISTAKE!

DSC_0004

I slowly eased through moving those far-reaching rose arms however I could. They were winning as I continually felt the stings. I tried to work over a log and felt the fall, and I felt the thorn driving deep into my palm. (The thorn is still in my hand!)                  DSC_0008I reached he summit deciding to head across the high wall towards the car. What started out as an enjoyable trek ended with pains. Oh well, one needs to expect such things in nature!

I saw deer, including one buck; turkeys; a grouse on a log; some ringneck hens, and some squirrels.

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DSC_0001I had watched the weather, and checked my commitments. I had one afternoon available to walk along the banks of Crooked Creek. I chose to walk south of Cochran’s Mill. (Cochran’s Mill was removed in the 1930 era to make way for the Crooked Creek Dam. All that can be found here are foundation stones scattered among the woodlands. This area floods most years as the water if held back at the dam.

I hurried to this area, and began a leisurely stroll. The terrain varied from level to hilly to outright steep. I had to deal with rocky areas, and muddy sites.                                                       DSC_0007

The leaves were beautiful, so I picked a good day to go explore. Some trees, like the sycamore, had already lost their leaves. However, the beech were in their glory with golds; oranges; bronze, and yellow.DSC_0015

Wildlife sightings were sparse. I saw one female merganser flying downstream with haste. I saw two brown creepers searching for morsels among the bark crevices.

 

Beech Trees

Beech Trees

I hadn’t been in this area in many years. I would walk from my grandparents often to explore these steep slopes, and play in the water. I hunted at times.                     DSC_0012

Note the low water level.

Note the low water level.

In the seventies I helped plant various seed-producing trees, and shrubs along with members of the Pennsylvania Wild Turkey Federation. I wonder how all of those plantings survived???

On top of the hill I found a family cemetery in the woods. Trees surrounded the site even way back then. I enjoyed the memories as I left the waterways to head back home.

 

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