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Archive for the ‘Deer Hunting’ Category

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. I watched the deer cut diagonally to my let 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. 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.

Detail

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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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MISSED!

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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My step father, Bob Miller, and I situated ourselves about forty yards apart this morning. The field we were watching has a lot of terrain contours so our separation allowed us to see the entire field. I have another antlerless tag, but I wasn’t carrying a firearm this day. I am waiting for flintlock season.

DSC_0002  The ground surface was white with frost. I was literally prone on the ground enjoying a beautiful sunrise and listening to a little turkey chatter from across the hollow, when I saw a doe walking into the field. She was followed by two others. I whistled to Bob, and motioned him to walk backwards into the woods and come to me from behind. Unfortunately, the deer were not in the mood to stay for long. Bob managed to see the three deer briefly before they entered the woods.

We edged along the field, but the deer had moved down, and over the side of the hill.                                             DSC_0006

I told Bob where to go, and I would walk along the hill’s side to try to push any deer towards him. I circled the field’s edge, and two deer came over the skyline. Bob saw them, but couldn’t get a shot.

I finally walked the pre-discussed drive, and in moments I heard his shot. I hurried to his position, and found Bob standing over a nice doe. Bob said ten to twelve deer came through from all directions. One stopped! While we were there with the deer I noticed another deer  walking. It was a small spike.                                                            DSC_0007

Later on, I spotted a nice eight-pointer with does in the distance. The buck was interested in breeding. The does were not!

 

 

 

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Success!

DSC_0001  I told Laurie, and my step-father, Bob, I was only going after bucks this day. I did not expect to  deviate from that decision. I had to leave by noon, or so, to get ready for a meal at my in-laws, and I wasn’t wanting to butcher.

I saw the first deer early. I couldn’t identify the gender. The brush, and slight fog kept that from happening. I set down on a log, and decided I needed to capture some of this fog on camera. I see beauty in all things.                                                         DSC_0008

I walked backwards and set down on a log to watch a little. I spotted a doe standing about seventy yards. Shortly afterwards, another doe was visible eating ferns. I watched the two for about half-an-hour as they walked away.

I was entertained by two gray squirrels, and two red squirrels. I would still hunt  in the area, and walk back to this log from time to time.

DSC_0012  I could see a deer to my left. I began to reach for my camera when I noticed the antlers. A second late I realized the buck was legal. The scope centered on the front of the deer followed by the shot. The deer dropped before running down slope. I could hear the deer as he dropped again.

The drag was a tough one for the buck was big, and heavy. I had to cross a steep gulley, and up a slope before leveling off. There were lots of down trees, with brush, too. I eventually had to drag the deer across Cherry Run. I was beat. Bob, and I struggled loading the buck in Bob’s truck.

The buck sported seven points with a seventeen inch spread.

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White Pine

White Pine

The 2015 buck season in Pennsylvania began on November 30. My plan of attack was to work up, and over, a slight hill, and remain on a level area. My knee had been buckling at times, and I knew I didn’t want to chance traveling over many hills.                                                                       DSC_0003

I would sit for a time; walk very slowly, and stand occasionally. All of this would remain in one area. I would just travel back, and forth. The plan worked well in regards to seeing deer. Not one of the nineteen deer I saw me. Two winded me, however, but even that didn’t cause them to run. They simply turned and walked away in the direction they had come from.

I saw one illegal buck. he was a five point. I saw the yellow-glow of another buck in dense cover. A doe walked above him, and he turned to follow her up, and over.

DSC_0004   I was blessed to see another Fisher. I squeaked to this mammal. The animal turned towards me. I had picked my camera up from the ground, but unfortunately the strap caught on my rifle scope. This caused extra movement and allowed the Fisher to see me. This guy was about fifteen yards from me.

I left about three o’clock to visit my mother, and Bob before going home. Bob hunted today to. He saw about 6 deer, including a buck.

A bird box I had erected has seen better days.

A bird box I had erected has seen better days.

I’ll be out again this week.

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