Archive for October, 2021

More Bear Hunting

Dense fog over the Allegheny River

Thursday mornings traditional is breakfast at my mother’s place. Today, I called and said I would be hunting bear. She was disappointed, but she knows my hunting heritage is strong and she, also, knows I will be out more.

Note sunshine slowly engulfing the distant hills.

Thursday Morning: I entered the woods with a hint of light as I traveled down some sort of access road. I heard some turkey yelps and instinctively responded as I continued on. Shortly, I left the road and began a slight climb to get to the ridgeline. I was glad I did for I saw the fog over the Allegheny River again. North of my position the fog was dense appearing like cotton candy. Also, seeing the fog from a high vantage point helped to make the sight extremely soothing. I sat down on a log and watched for a time.

Not good bear habitat.

I still-hunted the ridge hoping to see a bear feeding on the acorns, but it was not to be this morning. The very open woodlands at this particular site is not the best habitat for bear, but with fall coming on and the bear’s need to eat encouraged me to attempt this hunt. Later I would be an old clear-cut. It, too, is growing up past the best habitat. I would see some deer and squirrels and I quit the hunt around noon due to the warming temperatures.

Buck rub

Friday morning I was at it again. This morning was different for the sky was cloudy and sprinkling. The temperatures were cooler, as well. I walked a township road until close to eight o’clock for the gloom of the morning made seeing in the woods difficult. Once I did enter I would be seeing some deer and more squirrels.

Eventually, I crossed back the road and began a trek towards an area I needed to check out. There is a strip of Autumn Olives along the hill. Bear habitat indeed. However, it was extremely dense and one couldn’t even crawl through. I decided to abort and circumvent.

I noticed a ladder stand near the edge of the dense mesh. I was in awe when I saw it. I nice buck was dead and only about twenty or so yards from the stand. I looked at the deer and could see nothing to indicate a shot and lost deer. the buck was an eight-point.

Although saddened to see such a nice buck dead, I moved on only to find some piles of bear fecal matter. The droppings were fairly fresh for last night we experienced heavy and hard rains. This scat was still firm proving it had to have been made since the rains.

I walked to my left and didn’t go far when I saw the woods were posted. I reversed and moved along the Autumn Olive and sat for time while the rains fell. Movement caught my eye and a deer of the year walked past me at about twelve steps. My camera was in my shoulder bag due to the rain and I missed some great woodland shots. I left the woods about eleven to go home and dry out. Tomorrow I am hunting deer with the flintlock.

Aspen leaves in color.

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Up Close and Personal!

I was sneaking along looking for a nice doe when I noticed a little movement below me. I believed the movement was a turkey so I hurriedly prepared my camera. I began doing a little calling and heard an answer.

Within a short time I saw turkey s moving about well within shotgun range. However, it is NOT turkey season.

The calling began to intensify including gobbling as a flock of birds moved in on me. I mean they came under twelve yards from me. They were curious but not alarmed at the strange mass before them uttering turkey talk.

Needless to say I took a lot of photos during this encounter. Here are a few of the photos.

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Out For Deer

I made a decision to go after deer this morning, at least until the temperatures climbed to seventy. Actually, Old Jacob, my fifty caliber seemed anxious to be shot.

I crossed a field in the very early moments of the day and saw a deer standing along the field’s edge giving me the eye. I settled against a pine to watch this field until the sun came up. I would be facing the eastern skyline and knew once that bright thing climbs above the tree line my vision becomes hampered some.

I would see five deer at too far distances before getting up to walk out. I hadn’t gone far when I noticed a deer feeding about 130 yards out. Two deer would eventually show up. As they fed towards my position I began to play the mind games about filling a tag or not.

In time, as the sun became higher the two deer walked and fed close to me. I decided not to shoot at this time but take photos.

They walked within fifteen to eighteen yards from me allowing for a few photos before they either, saw a shine of the camera or heard the click of the shutter for they bounded off.

I would see a total of twelve deer until I left at 11:45. I saw two bucks. The temps had become quite warm and I needed to mow anyway. I may go out for bear again tomorrow morning, but I need to quit no later than two o’clock for a commitment.

On a separate entry I will be placing photos of a flock of turkeys I called in this morning.

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I was blessed with a beautiful sunrise this morning. I was happy to have been already on the top of the hill in time to see such splendor. This was my first morning out for the early muzzleloading season in Pennsylvania. I have tags to take either a Black Bear or antlerless Whitetail Deer.

The morning was young when a nice doe walked from the woods into a field of high grass. I stopped and maneuvered to exchange the muzzleloader for the camera. She stopped and looked away at first and eventually looked upon me with a penetrating stare. I took several shots before she ran away. The distance was around thirty-five yards. A shot would have been very easy, but I had made up my mind I wasn’t going to use my doe tag this morning. I would have fourteen deer sightings throughout the morning hours. I found one sizable pile of bear droppings, but they were not fresh.

Chipmunk with a tick!

A chipmunk moved to my right climbing a vine offering a photo. Once I saw the Chipmunk on the computer I noticed the Deer Tick on the cheek.

DAY 2: I tramped around until noon and quit for several reasons. I was getting warm. My knees were hurting enough and I was to play music at the God’s Choice event beginning at five. God’s Choice is a weekly event held at the local Kittanning Free Methodist Church. Individuals with special needs attend where they have a meal, sing and act and here a Bible story. they all love this evening every week. I reached the jeep at noon after being over the hills for five hours.

My second morning out was another beautiful morning. I chose a place, but some was disappointed. There was no food normally needed to hold bear. I checked two ridge areas with mature Oak trees and never found an acorn. There were no squirrels scampering about either. Most of the area had extremely abundant Autumn Olive trees around and not a single berry could be found and I covered much ground. I reached the jeep close to 11:00 deciding to head home.

I saw five deer.

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I stopped at dawn to take the garbage down for my mother and Bob. They have been fighting colds and this carrying their garbage is a tradition I have done for a long time especially with their ages and Bob’s major health issue.. How can they manage to get so much garbage? … since I am down to about a half bag a week.

Because they are still coughing some, but improving, I elected to not go in and chance getting a cold. Early muzzleloading is next week for deer and bear. I would hate to be ill.

So I went a few miles from the homestead to walk about. Deer were moving well allowing for the sightings of two buck and twelve deer total. I caught one in her bed thinking she was concealed.

I saw two flocks of turkeys. I managed one quick shot in the darkened side of the shadow side of the hill . I am going to post it, but the quality is not present.

I saw some squirrels busy gathering mast crops which appear to have done very well this year. I saw three Wood Ducks, too.

I walked upon a resting groundhog. It was perched on a log pile. I whistled for the head to turn some allowing for a photo.

Dew-laden White Pine needles

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Pileated Woodpecker

Over the last week I ventured out for some hikes. One such excursion lasted half a day. I hiked the southern section of my beloved Cherry Run hoping to see whatever ventured in front of my eyes.

Cherry Run

Heavy fog enveloped all areas very early, but once the sun gained some strength the heat quickly burned the fog through evaporation.

I try to hike along this area once a year if possible. The jaunt has become a tradition for me in a way, however, I usually enjoy walking this area with snow cover. The bottomland vegetation is often higher than my head so don’t expect any long range seeing.

I liked this calm water and strong reflections.

I would see a couple of deer at close yardages under such conditions. I saw two Belted Kingfishers acting interestingly. They were seemingly in some sort of territorial dispute and quite vocal. By the time I was back at the jeep I must confess I was getting very warm and these old knees hurt some.

One interesting find was a medium-sized Box Turtle. I usually see them during the spring, but I lucked out finding this one. I witnessed much erosion and deep muddy ruts along the bottomland. Four-wheel vehicles have cause much destruction along the vegetation. No wonder people post their lands.

Box Turtle

Another early walk occurred at a local state game lands. This, too, would be an interesting jaunt. I would see some deer, and squirrels.

If I would have been carrying my bow.

I was hearing the loud yaks of a Pileated Woodpecker and the big bird allowed several photos before vanishing among the trees. They are always a great sight to see. The cartoon character Woody Woodpecker was designed by an artist from the Pileated specie. I would have an opportunity to get some pics of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. These birds are not seen very often.

Immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Spicebush Berries

Red Squirrel trying to be invisible.

White-throated Sparrow

A vining plant is found in a few places here in Armstrong County. It is known as the Mile-A-Minute. This plant is a non-native and invasive specie. The plant is an annual meaning it grows from seeds during a summer season and freezes and dies back after frost time. The vines grow thick and heavy with the ability to kill native plants. These vines can grow twenty-five feet in one growing season.

The blue berries of the Mile-A-Minute.

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