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Archive for November, 2019

The day began with much colder temperatures than we usually expect at this time. I had a number of projects to deal with, but I decided to attack a Black Bear shoulder bone with a pen and ink illustration.

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Mid-morning  produced a lot of Crow cawing outside the house. I checked the source of the commotion to see a Red-tail Hawk setting in the tree above the site where I placed my deer rib cage. The Crows have been feasting and they didn’t appreciate the intruder so close to their food source.

I went out to try to get a photo but the hawk had flown the coup. However, I managed to get a Cardinal among some yellow oak leaves.

 

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Got ‘Er Done!

 

I actually pondered about hunting this morning. It was windy and I do not prefer to hunt on such days, but I always seem to end up going out to pursue those bronzed-back beauties. I guess it is an obsession of mine.

The temperatures were in the twenties this morning. A hint of snow covered the forest floor. I crossed a flat and dropped down the slope and began calling as I walked.  I had went about half a mile when I saw turkeys out ahead at approximately sixty yards or so. The race was on as I moved as fast as I could to bust the flock up.  I saw birds moving in three directions. I continued through and hiked two birds from the trees. The hunt was on!

  I set up and called periodically any time the wind subsided a little. A half an hour later I was getting cold, but I was determined to wait these birds out. I estimated ten to twelve birds but in the commotion I couldn’t get an accurate count.

I heard rapid yelping behind me and I readjusted my setting position. I continued calling and I heard a second bird to my left. Soon I could see the darkened body moving among the brush and Mountain Laurel. At twenty-two steps the Remington talked in a loud voice and a young gobbler was down. I uttered some thankful words of prayer.

The next phase is to clean the turkey. Any takers on this job? I didn’t think so!

 

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Turkeys Galore!

Notice the steep sides. Charging downhill in these conditions may end up with bone breakage for me.

Early on the second morning of the 2019 fall turkey season I heard an answer to my calls. Unfortunately, the answer was clear across a steep hollow. I knew I needed to get over to the side as quick as possible. However, I don’t do as well as I used to with going down hills and especially steep ones. I circled below and worked up the hill towards where the answering turkey came from.  As I moved along I could see turkeys feeding in a field. I eased back and set up hoping they may follow the field’s edge presenting a shot.

Things seldom go as one hopes with turkey season.  The flock exited the field back into the open woods to my left. They began answering my calls and I could hear them walking in the leaves! The bad luck factor was present. Between the birds and myself was a thick small gulley chocked with alders, spicebush, briars and vines. There would be one area where a shot could be had and the birds would stop at the brush’s edge and eventually walked away.

Buck rub

I moved into the field and started into the woods for a bust up only to find NO TURKEYS.  I moved around and didn’t find a single bird. Later I went up the hollow and moved low. I had answers ro my calls. The turkeys were either in the steepest part of the hollow and just up a little on the opposite side. WE carried on communications for fifteen or so minutes. I stopped calling and shortly, thereafter, the birds quit, too. About forty minutes later I found them about a hundred or so yards farther down this hollow. Again, we talked for a time and all would go silent. Both of these times the birds were not all that far, but they refused to move to my calling. And, unfortunately, the steepness of these slopes thwarted any attempts for me to charge down a hill to break them up.

I circled around to their side and the turkeys were gone. Eventually I went up and over onto the flats. I saw the flock of 12-18 birds about a hundred and twenty yards away. I moved as fast as I could only to watch them stay together and quickly move into posted property. I felt defeated. All of the above happened during a four hour time zone. I worked around and left the woods by two o’clock, tired and knees a hurting’.

This morning was a wet hunt. (November 5) I went to another area where I had seen turkeys and sign recently. The rain and wind made hearing very difficult.

I eased out to a cornfield’s edge and could see some turkeys in the corn. (The corn wasn’t high.) I circled around to try to call them. I saw some turkeys moving away from my right side. they didn’t seem to care about my calling. Perhaps they had seen me.

I circled again with some vegetation in my favor and soon saw them ahead at about a hundred yards. I believe there were, at least, fifteen birds in this flock.  I moved as quick as I could and hollered a couple of times, but the birds seemed to stay together. I decided to set and call loudly in case a couple of stragglers were close by. All I got was soaked even more and the shivers. Forty-five minutes later I was cold and wet and decided to head towards the jeep.

Later, I spotted a gobbler’s head at about 35 yards. I charged figuring a flock was on the back side of this terrain. Only one gobbler was present and I watched him move away.

Time to regroup for another time. I was very wet and cold and needed to get warmed-up quick.

I saw, these last two hunts, a lot of deer including a very nice buck. I saw a lot of squirrels, both gray and fox squirrels.

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Young Bedded Doe

The cold frosty early morning felt great as I trekked up the slope towards a listening point for turkeys. I had not scouted for turkeys so I was going to a vantage point hoping to hear some roosted birds. This first day of the 20191 fall turkey season in Pennsylvania would be a short one. My step-father’s brother and family were to be at my homestead to visit around ten o’clock. I needed to quit by ten and move on to be part of the family get together. They were coming in from Virginia.

I was almost to the crest of the hill when I heard the hooting of a Barred Owl in the distance. I stopped and listened until the bird went to bed. Later I would see a barred owl flying from a tree. Interestingly, while I listened to the owl I could hear something walking in the frost-laden leaves. Soon I could see the form of a deer coming towards me. Although the morning was still rather dark I could see a sizable rack at times. the buck stopped approximately eighteen yards from me before sensing my presence. I saw a few unidentified deer and another buck with, maybe, two inch spikes.

Around nine o’clock after calling and moving about fifty yards I heard the sounds of a turkey. Real bird? Another hunter? I searched for a position and quickly settled in against a White Pine tree. Another dead snag was about three feet from the tree. I called and decided I should move for this snag could be an issue. However, before I had taken that move an adult gobbler was spotted out ahead. The gobbler stepped behind a tree and I placed the shotgun onto a limb from that snag. the gobbler was moving perfect and was soon within my range. I couldn’t get a shot for the bird always seemed to be blocked with tree trunks. T

Then it happened the gobbler turned left. (My right) I couldn’t get the gun into position and the gobbler was wide open at about twenty yards. The gobbler began to be suspicious. His actions told me he was nervous. I did something at that time I never do. Why? I tried to slowly move the gun out of that snag. the gobbler started moving away and I removed the Remington and tried to align for a shot while being in an awkward position. I can still see the gun NOT being on target when the boom occurred. The gobbler was out of effective range by this time anyway and I was frustrated at my stupidity. I think in all my years of hunting I have only messed up on three or four turkeys. This shot should not have happened.

I returned to the jeep close to ten and changed my pants and shoes and enjoyed time at home with my family and Bob’s family. This afternoon we all got together for a meal at a lock restaurant. It was sad to see the four begin to head off back to Virginia soon.

A frost along the edge of this oak leaf.

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