Archive for the ‘Deer Hunting’ Category

Passing On Deer

I haven’t hunted deer much this season, however, the days I have been out I have seen deer and passed on shots a lot. Since my goal was makin’ meat, I am looking for good shots to take on medium sized deer. With my age I am not looking forward to dragging a two-hundred pounder. For instance, Friday December 9, I literally passed on small deer five times with ranges of 25-to 35 yards. Come flintlock season maybe I won’t be as picky. Laurie is to have surgery and has been told she is to not do anything for two weeks after the cut.

A few short stories of this day’s hunt. I was sneaking on a flat between two slopes when I saw a deer coming. I moved into position beside a tree. The little deer came so close that I jumped at her to scare her to educate. She jumped and ran a short distance to stare.

Later I sat down in an open area among White Pines. I watched a small deer feeding. The little button buck bedded down with a great range. While seeing this event happen, I noticed another deer feeding from in front of me. This deer was small, but she allowed for a bunch of pics.

Another example was a little deer from my right at twenty yards. With camera in hand, I was about to face a dilemma. About ten yards behind this little deer came a mature doe and I couldn’t move. The doe’s head went behind a tree, and I lowered the camera. By the time I got the rifle up the deer had moved to about fifty yards. I was planning the shot when I saw her ears funneling towards my right again. The button buck was walking past me. He was bleating. Any shot on the doe was lost. Oh well, I was enjoying all the other action.

Later I sat down at the head of a big hollow. About eighty yards to my right was posted property. Two deer showed up and it appeared they may come right to me. She spotted something about me and began staring. Eventually the two began walking again going at an angle below me. Shooting at this time would, probably, have the deer run over the steep slope into posted property so I waited for a better shot. A third deer showed up and the doe went to that deer. They came to about fifty yards below me with her still staring at me. Suddenly, the third deer began snorting for my scent was drifting down. They all went back into the posted property.

I would see other deer some were small ones and some too far to identify with certainty.

Crossbow bolt I found.

I was talking to a young mother last week. She told me of her young son hitting a buck with his crossbow on nearby property. This happened in archery season. I found this bolt and sent her a photo, and this was the shaft her son was using. I returned the shaft.

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The first day of the 2022 Pennsylvania deer season found me heading home empty-handed. Yes, I saw some deer and even saw an illegal buck, but no shot materialized. I knew I had to be extra careful with my shots for I saw a small spike buck during the early muzzleloading season. I even had the hammer cocked and firearm aimed. Luckily my patience saw the four- or five-inch, pencil diameter spikes. I was watching for a racked buck but by the afternoon I would have taken a doe if the shot was a good one.

Today the third day of the season found me in my haunts willingly ready to shoot a doe. I would see twenty-three deer by the end of the hunt. One adult doe came extremely close to becoming hamburger. I spotted her while still hunting at about forty yards. She squatted to urinate as I anxiously tried to determine first if the deer was a big enough one for harvest and not the spike.

Unfortunately, she was on the other side of some downed limbs. I clicked the safe off of the rifle and slowly drifted to my right to open up the vital areas. As I raised the rifle she suddenly turned and saw me and jumped away.

Fox Squirrel, one of four I saw in two days.

Later I spotted a deer feeding ahead. I stalked the deer and spotted the deer at about forty-five yards. I could not tell with certainty of any head ornaments. The deer fed slowly away, and I circled around hoping to get ahead for a clear look. I walked to about twenty-eight yards and in those seconds, I still wasn’t sure enough to shoot. Hard to believe!

I was heading to watch a feeding area and saw three deer feeding. patience would be the answer in this hunt. One was a half-racked buck and a big deer. I lost sight of them due to terrain contours. A flock of swans flew over.

I waited behind some pine tree trunks watching the feeding area. Suddenly, a deer came into view just ahead. I prepared to shoot. The deer was about fifteen yards and must have winded me. The deer bolted in reverse and turned in front of me in open area. the deer stopped. the forty-three-yard shot was good. The deer collapsed about twenty-five yards.

The deer was actually a buck. The antlers were about one inch along and exposed. The weight was around 110 to 120 pounds.

Fortunately, the landowner told me I could drive across the field to get as close as I can to any harvested deer. That is great. This old pooper has some fears with long deer driving. I backed down a gas line and got to within thirty yards of the downed deer.

Bear claw marks on a Beech Tree.

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Success on a Snowy Day

November 29, 2021 was the third day of Pennsylvania’s annual deer season. I had hunted the first day but only saw five doe. I often hunt only for buck deer on the first day. This year was no different. I didn’t hunt the second day.

This third morning was a beautiful time afield spreading peace and solitude all over. The heavy snow on a calm morning made for a great stress relief. With so much going on I sure utilized the mood.

I sat for a time before beginning to sneak around searching for a deer. This day I had decided if I had an opportunity on a nice size doe I would harvest some meat. As I ventured slowly around, I would see a number of deer feeding or bedded. Some were small and others were not satisfactorily identified.

I came close to a posted border line where I could see across a hollow. The landowner had timbered his property allowing for this opening through the woods. I could see a nice-size deer and I immediately felt the deer was a buck. I scoped the deer and just before he walked among some thicker brush, I could see a decent rack of antlers.

I could not go after this deer because of the posted property, but I knew from experience the deer on that side of the hollow sometimes work down slope and come across the hollow. If it worked, I could possibly see this deer on the property I was hunting. However, this could take an hour or so.

I turned to work my plan when I saw a deer about forty-five yards or so. I scoped and didn’t see any antlers and I could tell by the head the deer was not this year’s fawn. I shot!

The deer took off and I knew I couldn’t have missed so I quickly took up the trail. After about thirty yards I noticed blood. The trail increased until I found the downed deer. It had short “horns” and judging that fact and the size I knew this would have been last year’s deer. Both antlers looked as if they had been broken off about inch above the hair line of the skull.

The drag would be somewhere close to a half a mile. I took my time and rested often. I am not as young as I used to be so I decided taking some time would be the best way to do this task.

Turkey scatchings.

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The Pines

I am not sure how most artists are, but I have always felt a little sadness upon the time when a painting becomes the owner to another. However, I am not a young person anymore and I have to let things go.

The painting called, THE PINES, was inspired by an actual deer hunting event that happened awhile back. Three shots were heard up and over the hill. Approximately a half an hour later I heard a snap only to see a buck to my left at about thirty, or so, yards.  This buck was not legal due to the four-points to one side law in Pennsylvania at that time. I watched the deer cut diagonally to my left and stop at times. This buck was looking around when I heard another disturbance to my left. I eased my eyes strongly in that direction and I could see antlers  sticking out from behind a tree.

I knew this buck had a really nice rack although, at this time, I could only see partial antlers. Now, I was in a bad way. How do I get the flintlock rifle up and in place without buck number 1 seeing the movement. However, I slowly brought the rifle up. I still wasn’t positive of the point count.

Why do deer do unpredictable movements? Normally, the last deer will follow the first deer, but this buck turned and began slowly moving upslope. Unfortunately, I was turned sharp to my left and in an uncomfortable position. The shot would have to be soon or the deer would be in a position where I would be unable to get a shot.

Now, I could see the whole rack and was, almost, ready to squeeze when some limbs stopped my attempt. In seconds the buck was up and over the ridgeline.

The buck in the painting was never this visible for a shot, although I came very close on squeezing the trigger. Fate is like that when hunting is involved. Little things can make or break the shot.

Interestingly, I saw this same buck on the last day of the season close to quitting time. The range was farther than I wished to shoot with my flintlock. I tried to move and waylay him, but he must have went in a different direction.  Moments later the season was over.

The owner of the painting was the hunter who had fired the three shots prior to the buck coming to me. I think that is a nice closure to this painting.


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A Decision To Shoot

Deer hunting for me this year didn’t happen the first week of the 2019 Pennsylvania buck season. My step-father spent three days in the hospital and I felt I should be there for moral support to him and my mother. I attended two funerals of dear people to me. Five friends and acquaintances passed away in less than two weeks ago. This just “ain’t” right. Also, the family has been going through some difficult issues as of late, as well. regardless, I just either couldn’t hunt or simply I lacked the hunting mode mentality.

Today, I had a day to hunt and this was the only day to hunt this week. I could have hunted Monday, but the all-day rains kept me from the woods. I have commitments for the rest of the week.

I had planned to carry my flintlock “Old Jacob” this morning, but rain was seemingly going to hold on for a time. I wasn’t confident with the forecast.  I carried my Remington Gamemaster in a 30:06 caliber.

I set some ground rules for this day’s hunt. One was that I wasn’t going to shoot any buck unless the rack was big enough to meet my brain’s criteria.  A second plan was to just shoot a doe. I didn’t rule out taking a smaller deer because, as stated above, this would be the only day to hunt.

I spotted a bedded deer and soon realized the deer had a rack. The “horns” weren’t very big and I didn’t try to count the points to see if it was legal. I soon spotted a second deer . It was a doe, but I didn’t like the shot. It ended up five or six deer were bedded around the brush. I would see other deer off and on, but none offered any shots and many just couldn’t be positively identified. I still-hunted the entire morning. The light rains quit around ten, but the winds had been roaring at times. The temperatures dropped fast as well and by mid-morning I was feeling the chill.

Eventually I was approaching a hill’s flat top area and I decided to continue still hunting over the other side and whenever I reached the road and jeep I would call the hunt and stop and see how Mom and Bob are doing.

About forty yards out I saw a deer’s ear moving. This deer was feeding and moving from right to left. The deer worked into a slightly more open area and I prepared to shoot. Once I realized the deer wasn’t a big doe I hesitated. Thoughts began flowing across my brain waves. Should I shoot? I remembered thinking of the recent summons for the federal court in Pittsburgh for the first two weeks of the flintlock season. The decision was true at this point. I placed the crosshairs on the deer and BOOOOOM. The deer dropped immediately. A short prayer of thanks was offered for the clean and humane kill.

The deer will add some meat for the following year t help nourish our bodies.


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Photo A

Today, I hunted for five hours. We discussed and everyone encouraged me to go to the deer woods. I still felt somewhat guilty. However, my step-father, Bob Miller is stable currently since the tree-falling incident on December 3. Bob is currently taking meds to help with his pain issues. His ankle is in a plastic cast and wrapped tight in elastic bandages. His left side is badly bruised. Next week the current plans are to x-ray and decide is surgery is to happen.

The other issue that has yet to be decided upon deals with his back fractures. One doctor even went as far as to say his back is broken. The debate as to how to handle these fractures is, also, being debated. Bob is, however, doing some physical therapy exercises.

Photo A shows the Poplar tree. The tree was dead and I walked off the length and the broken top at around sixty feet in length. Notice the snow-covered log with the text printed. You can see the root ball that stopped the tree from crushing Bob. His head was against the snow-covered log and his legs were stretched out beyond the Poplar tree.

Photo B


Photo B shows the Polar tree stopped within the root ball. My rifle is placed to show the size of the logs.  Imagine a body under that Poplar tree. There was a gap of about three or four inches between the underside of the Poplar tree and Bob’s lower chest and abdomen area. His legs were extended towards my rifle’s stock.

I did hunt some today and had a great time, although I didn’t fire a shot. I saw fifteen deer and a turkey.

Doe in posted property.


Cherry Run


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And The Winds Howled…

I chose to stay home on Pennsylvania’s 2018 opening day of buck season. Weather stations were all calling for lots of rain and wind. One station made claims of possible 40 MPH wind gusts. I had no regrets.

This morning, however, we had an inch or so of snow on the ground. The winds were still out there, in fact they were howling! I stationed myself downslope where the winds were not as powerful, but I could hear the racket across the hollow and behind me. Like I said the winds were howling!

  I didn’t know what to expect as I ventured into the snow-laden woodlands. many trees and lower canopy trees were covered with snow. it was a   winter wonderland to behold. Little bird life was very absent this day. I only saw one squirrel, however, I was surprised to see a Chipmunk move across the snow. As I worked to get my camera in position the little striped critter went into a hole.

The first deer I saw cooperated greatly. Few deer do that in the wild. This deer came directly upslope to me feeding along the way. I managed close to fifteen or so photos.

The next doe I saw came past me at about twelve steps in a full run. If that deer would have sported a thirty-inch rack I still would not have been able to get a shot. My best option would have been to throw the gun at the feet to knock it over. Ha Ha! I saw three more deer, but no buck.

I quit around 1:00 and headed home.


Barberry- I planted this years ago.






Witch Hazel blossom under snow.

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Piebald doe

I spent some time this past week looking for a legal buck. Unnaturally warm weather made me to not hunt full days, but I still managed to be out three mornings.I saw a number of does and one legal buck, but I didn’t shoot. The buck sported a legal antler on one side and a small spike on the other side. The monster walked to about twenty feet of me before seeing my shape. I jumped at him and off he went only to stop at about another twenty yards. he then proceeded to walk back towards me, but a little lower. The buck didn’t identify me and eventually walked up the hollow.   

Another interesting time afield was when a doe bedded down about thirty yards from me. I watched another deer higher on the slope, but never identified it. The deer took off in a run as I watched a coyote walk  close to where the deer was hiding.  I, also, saw a Red fox this day.

I had three does fed close to me one day. However, when I felt the wind change on the back of my neck, I immediately saw the one doe stick it’s head high and nose higher. In short order, they all went down over snorting all the way.

I walked upon one bedded doe and managed a few pics before she unnerved.

This morning a bagged a button buck. venison will feed me for a time.

Other things that I enjoyed these days out were the hooting of a couple of Great-Horned Owls and gobbling turkeys. I saw a piebald doe and she stood still  long enough for some photo ops.


Back yard Wednesday night


Back yard on Wednesday night

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To say my buck/ doe season was short would be an understatement. The first day I elected to watch for a trophy buck. I saw one, but I failed to get an accurate “Horn” count. (Pennsylvania law in my area demands three points on the main beam to be considered legal. I saw fifteen deer this day. However, in the afternoon I began noticing an occasional cough. No big deal since I have asthma so coughs can happen at anytime.

I quit before the legal ending time for a daily hunt to head for home. I knew, but this time, something might be happening. (I saw a legal buck after I began the drive home. He was feeding over an embankment.)

The second day I decided to not hunt for the temperatures were to get into the upper sixties. I process most of my deer and I don’t like to hunt if the weather gets to warm. However, I had a raspy throat when I woke up. By evening I had a full-fledged sore throat along with shivering. From this point it was down bill!

Later, I would feel as if I was getting well, but by evening the dreaded symptoms returned with a vengeance. I had to finally call a doc!

This morning, December 8, I had breakfast with family and was hiking the woods by 10:00. I soon noticed the one issue that was still happening within my lungs…a cough! I seemed to have a one-syllable cough about every 12-15 minutes. Oh well, I thought I was out and enjoying being in the woods. ALl total in the four hours I spent carrying my flintlock I saw eleven deer.

I spotted a deer’s back at one point in a heavy brush area. I stopped and moved to a tree to hide behind. Two deer showed up. One deer began to walk towards me. Something gave my presence away to the deer. She would stare and walk towards me. Soon she was well within range and offering a great shot. Big problem was my flinter was not in position to shoot.

I thought she will look away at some point allowing for the rifle to get aligned. Problem comes to reality! I felt a cough. I suppressed it. Cough number two come to be and I suppressed it, too. Cough number three irritated my inner being to the point suppressing wouldn’t work. All of sudden a lung cough exploded from deep within my lungs as I watched two white flags bounce away. More coughs followed. I guess I was being told to not mess with those coughs. I was a little upset because most everything was going well. I thought I knew this could happen and continued to look for deer.

I saw about fifteen turkeys at various times. I was tired by the time I returned home.

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My step father, Bob, and I, spent half a day pursuing whitetails! And the day was wonderful!

Bob walked down n old right-of-way while I circled to push out some deer. I sent a couple past him, but a shot was possible. I walked up to him to discuss what had just happened. I told Bob,  “I see movement!” I felt certain I saw a part of a deer. Field glasses were worthless for we were facing the early sun.

DSC_0014  Bob remained in position and I walked back the same route he recently walked down. I spotted two deer bedded down. I believe these deer allowed Bob to walk past and remained tight. I looked back and made some motion of deer bedded. I continued on. I should have motioned Bob to come forward to see if the deer would have held their position. the shot would have been reasonably close…approximately 35 yards. Bob has trouble seeing deer in those conditions, so I continued up, and over, and walked in behind them. The deer got up and stood. Another great shot for me if I would have been hunting. Bob held off for he wasn’t sure where I was at. I was seeing an ear moving.

I backtracked and circled again and watched as the deer walked to me.  I went back and motioned Bob to come back up to me, and we walked along a field’s edge. Bob repositioned as I tried to move the deer around.

I walked backwards and entered the woods, and immediately saw a deer leg. The deer moved out. I played tag with these deer. I saw them four times again in less than two acres. Finally they moved past Bob. He didn’t get a shot. Again, I was getting unbelievable chances for close shots.

We walked side-by-side as we walked along. Suddenly, a deer crossed in front of us, and she was only about 25 yards. She looked at us, and began feeding. Bob wasn’t sure if he wanted to shoot the small deer, so he hesitated.

After a few minutes this deer turned back towards the way it came and started to walk. Bob decided he was going to shoot, but he missed. I played the sceneraio  out searching for any sigh of a hit. Bob must have pulled the shot for the deer was very close.

We had a lot of deer sightings before heading back to mom’s for brunch!






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