Archive for October, 2018

Two Bucks

I arrived at the hunting site at light. My goal was to spend some time attempting to locate information on the one deer I messed up on yesterday. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would I find a downed deer or walk upon a deer trying to hide from me.  I would spend approximately three hours still hunting the area. I traveled about three hundred and fifty yards or more in a semi-circle from the last known position of the deer. Due to yesterday’s occurrences I brought “Old Jacob” to the hunt. The .50 caliber rifle with two sights would be the deliverance for me if I had another chance.

I searched rather diligently, I believe, and found no certain detail as to what the deer had done. However, I was sneaking along a very thick area scouring ahead for any possible deer. Suddenly, an explosion erupted from under some dense honeysuckle limbs. Yes, a deer jumped up about ten feet from me. Did I approach with the stealth of an Indian that the deer didn’t know I was present? Was this the injured deer? I still can’t say with any degree of certainty. The deer moved out appearing fine. There was no sign in the deer’s bedding.

While doing this search a nice buck traveled over e ridge and walked by me. Once he spotted me he allowed for about eight photos once as I worked to retrieve my camera from my shoulder bag.

  I walked along a field’s edge and spotted a deer nibbling on tree limbs. I assumed it was a male for such actions are common with a buck. I glassed and saw spike antlers. Three more deer appeared in the field feeding. I stalked a distance that I deemed safe to do so. Suddenly, I could see a deer to my left and closing in. I maneuvered among the pines and realized it was the spike. The buck had turned and due to contours found his way right upon me.

I would see seventeen deer over six hours. A couple of doe came out to me at about fifty yards. I couldn’t shoot for when one stopped the other would  stop directly in front of the other.

I saw some squirrels and heard some turkeys on the roost this fine day afield. The temps were cool and in the thirty degree range in the morning and the winds made setting for more than thirty minutes difficult.


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Messed Up!

Jeremiah and sheepshead mushrooms

I met my step father, Bob for some hunting time. We set up in the darkness at two different sites. There was frost in some areas meaning the temperatures had to be around the freezing point. The day was very windy.


I was watching a doe at around sixty yards. (Two other deer were about ninety yards.) I was wondering if the closest deer would move closer to me. I

Bull Thistle in mid-October

would soon find out… NO! Bob shot at a deer. The doe I was watching stood at attention only to unnerve and run away from me. I went to Bob to find out his flintlock had a hang fire and he began to drop the barrel only to have the sounds of Ka-Boom occur. (A hang fire is when the pan powder goes off followed by the flintlock. The shot is possibly a half second or more after the pan power ignites.)  

We set up a short time to watch for deer and had no luck. Bob moved to a favorite log and I circled to move through thick crabapples and dogwoods.  I spotted the doe at around twenty yards. She was feeding, but all I could see were her back legs and head and neck. Suddenly, she raised her head and gawked directly at me. We eyeballed each other before she turned away not offering me a shot. At around thirty yards she turned and was broadside to me. However, much of her body was behind honeysuckle cover.

I readied the smoothbore and she moved. I knew one more step and I would not be seeing the deer. I hurried the shot and shot over her back. Bob saw her go past.

I was getting warm since the temps reached over fifty degrees and I was thinking of quitting early. (Bob had already left around 10:15.) I was almost to the jeep when I spotted a feeding doe. I stalked her waiting for an opening to shoot. At about thirty yards I shot and hit her brisket area. There was a tree in front. Did I graze the tree causing the ball to drop or did I just move ever so slightly? I need to check out the area to locate the tree. I was disgusted with myself. How did I fail such a shot? I spent just shy of two hours searching for the deer to no avail. Sign was almost non-existent. Once I determined to end the search I quit hunting for the day.                                                                                                      

I saw less squirrels this day and only thirteen deer. I did see three Woodcock and a few turkeys. I found five Sheepshead mushrooms, but didn’t pick any for I already had some in the freezer. I think my next hunt will be the flintlock rifle.



Hiding rabbit




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Deer Everywhere!


Nice bedded buck.

October 16, found my arrival to my parking area a little late. However, my  failure to be on time by fifteen minutes granted some deer sightings in area fields. I Began my trek into the woods around 7:10 A.M.

Fog in the Cherry Run Watershed

I saw a porcupine as I walked up the hill to my planned station for a short while. I had my “wooly bottoms” on for the temperature was in the thirty degree area. Most of the day was fine in regard to the extra warming attire.

As stated I would see over thirty deer sightings  this day.  They were everywhere! Jeremiah, my smoothbore, was anxious to get a shot, but no shots were to be had this day. However, I had some deer to under the forty yard range, but dense vegetation seemed to always be in the way. I believe 98% of the leaves are still on the trees and lowland shrubs. Color isn’t very vivid this year as to date.

In total I would see five buck. The one in the photo included here was in it’s bed. A second one was behind and out of my site until they both raised up to run. I saw a smaller chestnut-colored antlered buck. The rack was nice, but only about twelve to fourteen inches wide. I saw a small spike and a four-point chasing about five doe. Squirrels were all over the place, as well.


Interestingly, I found a Black Snake enjoying the sun.



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A Shot Not Taken

  The morning produced rainy conditions, so any thoughts of chasing deer with a flintlock smoothbore would need to wait. Jeremiah, my .62 caliber smoothbore was anxious to get out so once radar showed rainless conditions, I called my step father, Bob Miller about hunting. He agreed to meet me and travel to a nearby game lands.

Yesterday was Bob’s eighty-fourth birthday so my plans were to set him up and push some of the thick brush hoping to move some deer. Family is coming later this afternoon for a meal and cake to celebrate his day.

The first three drives produced no deer for Bob. I was surprised for this is great habitat for deer hideaways. I did find an old weathered arrow from some person’s hunt of the past. We did see a Ring-necked Pheasant.

However, the fourth push granted me an experience to enjoy. I was moving through the thick vegetation when I spotted a deer about fifteen yards away. The doe hadn’t seen me which very much surprised me.  This young doe began angling to my right. MY thumb was on the hammer, but I did not cock the flintlock. I just didn’t feel like shooting this deer. The doe was as close as ten yards and, yet, never saw me. Two more deer were down over from my position at about twenty  to  twenty-two yards.  I was happy with my decision!

Bob never saw any deer.

I need to write an update in regards with my sighting issues. They are gone! What a joy to see the sights of my flintlock with clarity again.  I suffered with this for over a year. I picked up a new pair of glasses Friday morning and immediately sensed better vision. So what was the problem over this time frame? The only answer I can come up with is an error in prescription form the glass-making side of the eye-glasses scenario.

My eye doctor once I complained about checked my prescription again and conducted other eye-related tests. He said his numbers were correct and the prescription was correct. The paperwork was correct with his numbers from the company that actually produced the eyeglasses. I truly believe someone at the company had all the paperwork correct, but the actual production of the eyeglasses was not correct with my prescription and the paperwork. Could this be possible?  Anyway, I am so elated to see the sights clear again!!! Wish me luck!


Old arrow remains

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Some Carp Fishing


Last week I spent a morning walking back to an area to fish for some carp on light tackle. I had a great time. I caught some and a Bullhead Catfish.

Happiness is a taut fishing line.


An Aster

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This day turned out much better than a recent Saturday morning hike.  That hike was one where I was walking about an hour. I could hear either the rustling of leaves due to an oncoming breeze or the approaching onslaught of rain. The second option was the result and I knew it.


Black-Throated Blue Warbler

I closed in tight under some hemlock trees. Fifteen minutes later the rain was soaking me. I leaned tight against an oak and did not improve the   drenching. I made an executive decision and pranced off towards the jeep. I was drenched by the time I gained entrance into the jeep. I turned the heater on with the fan on full. Needless to say the flintlock shooting plans with my step-father, Bob were to be cancelled.

This week we planned the shoot again. The plans were similar for I was going to hike early and meet at the Cherry Run Gun, Rod and Reel Club to shoot some. Originally I wasn’t going to shoot for an ongoing eye issue I have been having. However, I gathered my flinter named, Old Jacob and decided I was shoot a few rounds.

Those of you who have been following my posts may remember of serious focusing issues while hunting deer last year. This past summer I talked with specialists concerning Lasik surgery. I was disappointed to learn I was not a candidate for the operation. I recently visited my eye doctor and have new glasses to be arriving this week…at least I am hoping. I am getting a special anti-reflective lens this time to help, hopefully, with my low-light seeing.

I enjoyed the morning time to reflect on my life and remember about my Uncle Carl Smail. I usually think about him as the hunting season comes along. He died in 1976 at 48 years of age while hunting waterfowl at Keystone Dam in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. I arrived at the dam to see the fireman bringing him out of the woods. A very bad time for me!


Bob with his Thompson-Center Flintlock

I was blessed to see several deer and about six turkeys on this jaunt.

I arrived to see Bob waiting. The shooting began. I need to say my shots would have all been fatal on a deer, but each shot took twenty to thirty

Cherry Run

seconds of careful sighting. The front sight and the rear sight are blurry and seeing the front sights position in regard to the rear sight is very difficult. A friend had me almost convinced to place peep sights on my flintlocks, but I have yet to make such a move. My flintlocks are custom-made firearms and are historically accurate. I can’t bear putting the sight on…yet!




Huge Sycamore


Skunk cabbage for next spring



Muskrat droppings


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