Archive for October, 2017

  My step father, Bob and I met at the predetermined place. Bob came to the window and said he wasn’t dressed well enough to hunt this morning and was going to bow out. The temperature was in the thirty degree area and the winds were howling. I told him I was going to check around here and see what may happen.

Another hunter had parked nearby and was already in the pre-dawn woods. I didn’t want to interfere with him so I went in another direction. I walked a gas line and notice far off across a big-basin hollow a flashlight moving down the slope in the woods. I returned to the jeep debating to drive to another place.

I decided to walk back a ridge and listen and call. The woods stayed gloomy as 7:30 appeared on my watch. Ten minutes later I gave out some yelping calls and was immediately answered by a turkey not fifty yards away. I moved to set up better. The turkey talk continued off and on between the two of us.

Just prior to eight o’clock I saw several birds fly down and begin moving about. The 870 Remington was up prepared to shoot. In minutes one bird was close. Brush and dead limbs made finding an opening tough. Finally, the moment came and the eighteen yard shot was complete. At the shot a number of birds took to the air.

Later I saw some bedded deer and managed a few photos.

Notice the second deer.

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New Country

  Finding new country in Armstrong County is becoming more difficult each year. I have known of this particular property for quite some time. In fact, I have walked about in a couple  sections in the past. Years ago, while active in the Pennsylvania State Chapter of the National Wild turkey Federation, I represented the group at a major event with the property owner and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Other wildlife groups were present as well within the big tent erected for this gathering.. Local politicians spent time giving their speeches, too.

The section I visited this morning was a first time for me. I enjoy exploring new lands and seeing what habitat is present and the natural world within.

The early morning venture featured a hard frost whitening so much.  The winds were calm. I hoped to find good bear sign or turkeys. I did see two bucks and two does.

I heard  and watched a flock of Canada Geese heading south. I, also, heard a Ringnecked Pheasant crowing in the early moments of the day.

The temperatures had reached about 43 degrees by 10:30 and I was heading out of the woods to head home.

Skunk Cabbage waiting for spring


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Shooting Rifles


Rain is coming!

Rain was on the way as I settled in the woods to watch a field for deer photos. It was dark, but a hint of illumination could be viewed along the eastern tree line. I had seen some nice buck at this site along with smaller ones. Most of the time I couldn’t use my camera for I was

White Baneberry

hanging onto a flintlock. Any moments would stand a chance to become known to the deer.

I could just see the shape of a deer in the darkness. the animal walked to within twenty yards of me, but the very early conditions failed to make a good visual on this animal. Later, a buck ran across the corner of the field. I never saw this buck again.                       

Around the time of 8:30 I was moving towards the jeep. My next item on the agenda was to do a little shooting. My Remington 760 just had a new scope installed since my old scope went south on me. I couldn’t adjust the crosshairs at all. The gunsmith bore-sighted the scope for me. I shot at fifty yards and the bullet was hitting nineteen inches low. I brought it up to the target.                      

I, also, shot my flintlock rifle, Old Jacob. I missed a shot that shouldn’t had been missed. At fifty yards I shot at a large sheet of paper with a deer I had roughly drawn onto it. Three shots and three round holes in the breadbasket area. I do not see, as well as I had in the past. I can’t deny that fact. The sites are hazy along those long-barreled flintlocks I use. the front site, I find, is hard to see if centered. I believe that is the reason for the misses with this rifle. I need to be conscience and try to learn to center that front site.


Old Fiscus Schoolhouse. My mother attended here in the mid-thirties.

I didn’t get around to shooting the smoothbore, Jeremiah.  I missed two deer with this flintlock, too, after passing some shots at fifteen-twenty yards or so.  The same problem exists with this sighting plane. I cheated and had a fiber optic sight placed on it. Without a rear sight I can fluctuate a slight variance on the horizontal plane.

I, also, shot my Remington 872  rifle. this .22 caliber was shooting well at around thirty yards. I may need to get a squirrel or two.      

Afterwards, I walked around the lower end of Cherry Run reminiscing of things. Many memories of this area from my life. The trout, bass and catfish I had caught. the deer and wildlife I had seen. My father and I spent much time together along this waterways.

Later, just prior to the rain I took a drive to a few areas I hadn’t been too in quite some time. More memories.



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Painted Lady

Laurie, my mother-in-law, Anne and myself spent all afternoon at Crooked Creek Park near Ford City, Pennsylvania. October 22 was a  warm and sunny day. We, also, had a picnic.

We hiked several trails and visited the Environmental Leaning Center to see the last remnants of their herb and flower garden.

We walked below the outflow area of the Crooked Creek Dam. We saw a Great Blue Heron, Groundhog, Grey Squirrel and two deer. I was hoping to see a Bald Eagle to show the girls.

We stopped periodically to set and listen and watch.


Great Spangled Fritillary














Crooked Creek

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Harrison Hills Park


Morning sun

This past week I tramped upon an old pine log only to feel my foot crush through the rotted log. Ouch!  I didn’t fall completed down, but I, apparent,

White Snakeroot seeds

tightened my leg muscles to thwart a fall to the face. Whatever, I immediately felt pain in my butt-cheek and thigh of my left leg. The sudden thrust aggravated a meniscus issue within my left knee, too. That sure dampened my flintlock hunts.

My step-father and I went out together to hunt deer on Saturday, the 21st of October, but nether of us connected. We completed the hunt at ten in the morning. I was hurting some and the temperatures were getting warm.

Freeport, PA along the Allegheny River

However, I had promised my wife, Laurie we would go down to Harrison Hills Park in Westmoreland County to walk a trail. She decided to travel on a five mile trail. I must say I felt discomfort with every step, but we made the trek.                                                                                      

The park has much diversity with habitat. A section of the trail we hiked edges a step river hill. One can see the Allegheny River while peering through the trees. We only saw one doe feeding on acorns. Squirrels and chipmunks were common.



























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Morning fireball

I walked the dark hours to a predetermined place to watch a field. I could easily see the Big Dipper and Orion in the pre-dawn sky. A frost engulfed everything. This is the first frost of the season.

Just about seven in the morning I could see the forms of two deer entering the field. I believed just by their bulk indicted big male deer. I was correct. They walked just out in front of me and I could see their nice racks despite the early time frame. Eventually the two walked out of site. Three doe entered the field to my left. Unfortunately, I was having difficulty observing them due to goldenrods next to me. I eased up by stretching my neck. Whoa… directly in front of me was a back of a feeding deer. This deer was about thirty-five yards. I got Jeremiah ready for a shot.                                 

This deer fed closer before raising the head. It was a four-point buck. He watched the does and gradually moved away. I remember thinking what great photo opportunity I just lost.  I believe trying to get my camera in position would have been observed.

Anyway, back to the does. I eased up a little to see over the goldenrods and they were still feeding. However, the old doe sensed something amiss with my slight movement. They fed awhile, but she led them away into the woods. My fault completely!

I began moving around and setting occasionally. I saw some more deer but too far for shots.

I crossed the road top circle around to the jeep when I came upon two feeding does. I couldn’t get a shot. I was between the landowner’s home and her hobby building. I know she wouldn’t mind me shooting as long as the shot was safe. I couldn’t shoot. The deer eventually moved off the cross the road I had just came from.

I moved back trying to see if I could waylay them.  I was, once again, crossing the field looking left. I turned right and there was a doe feeding. I was about forty yards and she never saw me! I missed again! How could this be?

   I went off moving around searching for sign of a hit. Nothing at all. I went over the hill where the deer went and saw a doe standing. She was feeding. Could this have been the same deer? I believe it was. With that I decided to head to the jeep.

I set up an old muffler I found in the ditch line and shot. The shot was low. Tomorrow I will be using Old Jacob, my 50 caliber flintlock. I need to check this new sight out on the smoothbore.

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Tuesday, October 16th, was breezy. I went into the area I was planning to watch for deer and settled in to await dawn. I began seeing deer, or I should say deer forms, just prior to seven.

Can you see the bedded deer?

As the dawn grew in intensity I began seeing more deer and much clearer.

Four doe fed in the field towards me, but still moving to my right some. I could see them at about fifty yards or so, when I noticed them looking to my left. More deer were coming into the field. I could see racks on two for sure and would later see four bucks in the field with a single doe. Interestingly, once the buck reached a point just out in front of me, I turned and the four doe were gone. I began taking photos.





    Three of bucks moved ahead and gradually worked downslope to the woods. The fourth buck went back the way they came. The doe began  to walk along the field’s edge exactly where I wanted her to go. She walk past at about thirty yards and I didn’t shoot. The doe was a young one and, at this time, I was hoping to get a bigger deer. All of this lasted until 8:55 A.M. What a morning watching all this action.

I began still hunting when I walked upon a bedded doe. This deer was about ten yards from me and holding tight. This doe was a small one, too. In fact, she may have been the one I passed on earlier. I took a couple of pics before she bolted. I would see her again at about 15 yards.

The noon hour was upon me and I started a trek diagonally on a gas well road. I spotted a mid-sized deer feeding up the slope along an old right-a-way cut. This cut has goldenrods and grasses and is almost grown shut with tree limbs. I began stalking her with success. Bad luck was about to occur. I heard someone driving on the road behind me. I motioned and the driver stopped. I waited for the deer to turn broadside or quartering away.  I shot and missed! The doe looked up but away from me and began walking away.  Was it human error or my new sight?  I know I sometimes fail to place my cheek tight on the stock allowing for the front sight to shoot high. I may need to explain what firearm I am using. This is a French fowling piece common in the late 18th century. I named the 62 caliber (20 gauge) smoothbore, Jeremiah, in honor of an ancient Jewish prophet. The barrel has no rifling, so accuracy is not that great. I try to limit shots to under forty yards if possible. I can shoot lead shot for turkeys and other small game if desired.            

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The dark woods trip for the first day of the muzzleloading season yielded the sounds of a Barred Owl. I thought to myself the day was already a good one. A half-mile farther and a Great-Horned Owl began hooting away. I continued walking through the woods quietly and the big bird continued hooting until a crow sounded off. I set a spell waiting for the light to get strong enough to begin sneaking around. Old Jeremiah was anxious to get out for a deer hunt. last year I did not hunt the early season. Jeremiah is my 62 caliber smoothbore flintlock. I try to keep any shots under forty yards since accuracy lessens  after that distance due to the barrel not having any rifling to spin the lead ball.                                

I walked tight along the woods line while walking a field’s edge. two deer were feeding at the other end of the field. Moments later I saw the backs of three feeding deer about sixty yards. I tightened my stance ten feet into the woods to await their movements. The deer slowly fed towards me stopping at thirty yards. I just didn’t feel like shooting. The “hunter mode” had not kicked in! I debated trying to remove my camera from my shoulder bag, but I figured with the sun aiming the bright rays directly upon me that any movements may be amplified allowing the deer to see the movement.

Sure there was plenty of limbs and vegetation to help hide me, but a shot was very much possible. The sun had cleared the treetops and the doe stared at me. I expected she may have seen something shining. After a few moments she turned and entered the woods I was standing in.  I turned left and could see the deer about twenty-eight yards into the woods. The instinct took over and I leveled the flintlock. I could not get a clean shot due to briars and limbs. One deer moved towards me to about eighteen yards. I held off hoping for a clean shot. Funny how the hunter mode happens. I passed up very good and easy shots and only decided to take a deer when no shots were offered. No regrets! Some of my hunting friends will understand!

   I saw a lot of squirrels this day and I searched for some sheepshead mushrooms and found none.  I would see three more deer. By mid-morning I was in my tee-shirt and by 11:15 I was heading home to work in the yard. It was a good day.






*************************************************************************************************************************************************************************On OIL CREEK & TITUSVILLE RAILROAD’S PERRY STREET STATION

  October 13, we rode a train at Titusville, Pennsylvania running along Oil Creek. We spent much time in the open car. We stopped by Drake’s

Laurie with Lori and Allen Leard

oil well site and could see hints of historic oil wells and derricks along the way. Edwin Drake, in 1859, built the first successful oil well in the world here.

Oil creek is a beautiful waterways producing a great fishery. We saw many fly-fishermen as we rode the train along the creek.


We saw a Bald Eagle very close while traveling for the rode. We saw a lot of Mergansers and Canada geese on Oil Creek. I included a few photos of the trip.


Oil Creek


Oil Derricks


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