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Archive for the ‘Early Flintlock’ Category

  DSC_0002  I need to be honest with myself. I still endure pain issues in the knee that I had surgery on. Whenever, I feel healing is doing well, I have setbacks with pains; discomfort; clicks, and pinches. I need to tell myself to limit the miles, and avoid the steeper hills. I am still hopeful less pain will be true, as more time drifts along.                           DSC_0005

Last Monday, October 19, I hunted  for half a day. I had 22 deer sightings before returning home at around 1:00. I, also, saw a red fox, and a flock of turkeys. Lots of squirrels!

Prior to nine in the morning, I spotted a doe in the dogwood; crab apples and goldenrods. The deer was around forty yards or so. I believed it was closer.  I leveled “Jeremiah” and missed! Jeremiah is my .62 caliber smoothbore French fowler. The original style dates back into the latter eighteenth century. I have killed deer with this firearm in the past, but I still mess up on occasion. The smoothbore doesn’t have a rear sight. One has to get the check down on the stock and aim true. Any slight deviance of this and the shot can, easily, fly high, or low. Also, smoothbores are not a long range gun of accuracy. the barrel, as the name states, doesn’t have rifling grooves in the barrel to stabilize the lead ball. Accuracy is easily faltered by this at yardages of over forty yards. Whatever happened…I missed!

DSC_0004  I spent slightly more than two hours searching for any sign of a hit, or a downed deer. I concluded a miss.

October 21st found me out again. I saw fewer deer this morning. I spotted a deer in a spruce thicket. I lost sight quickly in the tangled tree tops and limbs. I still hunted along side, and spotted the doe in a deciduous woodlands that bordered the spruce growth. I shot and a deer moved down through the woods. I searched for over an hour with the same results as Monday’s hunt.  A miss! I always with thinking wonder if I did all I could do searching.

I hunted with my step father, Bob Miller on Thursday. We saw some deer. I almost shot a doe, but decided to not shoot for Bob’s benefit. We were home early for breakfast with my mother.

DSC_0003 Today was the day! early in the morning I heard a shot where Bob usually goes hunting. I had driven myself and parked along a road, and Bob was over on the other road. I didn’t know with certainty he would be hunting.

I found Bob in a field, and he quickly told me the story. We searched for over an hour, and found nothing. We spotted a deer walking through the dense crabapples; dogwoods and briars. We continued looking. Bob went one way as I headed towards the area where this deer had gone. I wanted to be sure this deer wasn’t hit by Bob’s shot. No blood!                                                                          DSC_0011

However, I looked up to see the deer moving out ahead of me at about thirty-five to forty yards. I identified it as a doe. The doe stopped. I had a small opening  to shoot through for the briars were thick. I held a tight aim and shot. I walked up and looked around. The doe was down at another forty yards. The shot had been true and humane.

DSC_0003 I used “Old Jacob” on this hunt. This is a style of flintlock rifle made in the 1780 era by Andrew Verner of Pennsylvania. It is a 50 caliber flinter. I have harvested a lot of deer with this firearm. Notice this gun is a rifle. This means the barrel has “rifling” in the barrel to stabilize the lead ball for better accuracy.

As I type this, Bob has returned to the woods to set a spell watching for deer!

 

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Monday, the 21st of October was a day with predicted warm temperatures. I elected to go out for a couple of hours to try to locate turkeys on the roost. The early muzzleloading season for deer is in, but I didn’t want to hunt deer due to the warming temps. (I butcher my own deer.) The other reason I chose not to hunt was due to an unexplainable pain in my left leg. I walked about one mile only that morning seeing some deer (I, also, saw a pie-bald deer.) and turkeys.                                                                             DSC_0073

Pie-bald deer

Pie-bald deer

Today, however, I decided to chase deer around for my step-father, Bob and scout for turkeys.  I was loaded for white-tails. I was armed with Jeremiah, my .62 caliber smoothbore. We bumped some turkeys from the roost while walking into the woods early. Bob posted and I walked about still in pain. Pain pills allowed this!

The irony of the morning was the hope  of not taking a deer. I didn’t wish to butcher at this time. This was my first day to hunt deer and, of course, the pain.      DSC_0006

Bob would see a couple of small-racked bucks during his time on watch. Later on in the morning hours I met up with Bob. I told him to watch a different area and I would sneak around and hopefully move some deer past him.

DSC_0011   I was sneaking around and could see a doe about 80 yards from me. I closed the gap to about 50 yards. I could see the deer and had a shot, but allowed the deer passage. I saw this same deer three more times in this brushy area, but it eventually went the opposite of Bob’s stand.

Bob-O-Lantern with my deer

Bob-O-Lantern with my deer

Bob and I were sneaking down a gas well road and saw another deer and later saw two more. I asked Bob if he was interested in climbing the hill. I figured we may be able to circle the two deer. The plan worked!

I spotted the two deer feeding along below us and gave Bob the shot. He missed. We spent about an hour  searching about just in case.

DSC_0018   I had Bob walk a gas well road and I went farther uphill and searched for the deer. I eventually spotted a deer in the crab apples. I called Bob via cell phone, but had to hang up quickly. I was going to try to move the deer to Bob. The deer turned and started walking towards me. The thirty yard shot was true.

I wasn’t trying to take a deer this day. I was just flowing through with my heritage I guess. I passed up four shots. The hunter mode kicked in and my first tag was filled. The shot was at noon.

DSC_0028  I saw turkeys, several grouse and lots of squirrels. I saw one red fox as well.

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     Bob and I walked up the hill in the pre-dawn grays. Recent rains had ceased but the cloud cover still darkened the sky. This changed as the sun came through around midmorning.

Bob, using a .44 magnum elected to watch a field until about 9:30 when he had to leave. He saw 5 deer. My smoothbore “Jeremiah” and I still hadn’t prioritized a desire to connect on a deer. Turkeys and photos were more important.

I listened for turkeys and was blessed to hear a Screech Owl and a Barred Owl too. Always enjoy their eerie wavering call. I had seen various deer by noon including two different buck. Around 11:00 I noticed a deer in the multiflora rose and autumn olive patches. I under estimated the range by, at least, twenty yards.  The deer was about 75 yards. I try to limit my shots with the smoothbore .62 caliber flintlock to 40 yards or less. Anyway, I missed! I spent an hour zigzagging around to ensure my hopes of a miss.      

Small buck at 5 yards

  I crossed a road where I saw other deer including a nicer white-racked buck and turkeys. However, the highlight of the day was while sneaking through a timbered area. I saw a black mass about 40 yards away and knew I was seeing a bear in its bed.  Shortly, the bear caught my scent and got up and soon began walking away. I couldn’t get a photo through the dense brush.

I was debating leaving for the day close to 5:00 was the time and I was tired and hungry. Within sight of my vehicle I could see a feeding deer. The stalk began. I passed up a couple of 50 yard shots waiting for a better one. The one deer became three. When I was about 40 yards from them a fourth deer spotted me and reacted. I hurried a shot from an uncomfortable position and after much searching realized a miss was indeed.                                                            

Groundhog

     I again, began heading towards the vehicle when a deer  stepped out in front of me. I cocked the hammer and lowered the gun. I was chancing this 50 yards shot the way the shooting was going for me this day. The deer back tracked and my exit continued.  Suddenly, that same deer was spotted about 35 yards away in the goldenrods. I instinctively raised and fired. the deer dropped immediately.

I had the deer home and skinned before 7:30. This deer will become steak and burger.

I saw the first juncos (commonly called the snowbirds) this day. Many robins were enjoying eating the grapes and dogwood berries.

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Jeremiah and my "stuff"

Dogwood berries

   Last Monday, October 17th, I spent the day completing various tasks. My step-father, Bob and I hauled a new refrigerator to my basement. Earlier this year our fridge went “kaput”. Laurie and I decided a new one would be of benefit since deer season was upon us and meat storage would be of necessity since I do my on processing.

 

    The nice warm weather, also, forced me to change the oil in the car. Yard work is always present. I mowed, trim some rhododendron and cut some spent flowers back. Monday evening, however, I decided to take “Jeremiah” for a walk  and a turkey scouting venture come morning. Jeremiah is my .62 caliber smoothbore French Fusil. The flintlock was a custom-made piece and is flawless. The firearm is very dependable.

 

    

Pretty colors of autumn

   Tuesday morning began very cloudy and later became sunny, warm and breezy. A saw a number of deer throughout the morning. At one point I found my front sight almost aligned on a deer. Two seconds more and the shot would have been completed. Of course, the deer’s curiosity soon became a concern and two steps placed it’s form among much foliage.

Turkeys seemed everywhere. I heard a little morning chatter followed by the sounds of many feet scratching the leaf litter in search of mast. Two different times I heard the sounds of feeding birds. Several other times I saw birds including gobblers.     

I was edging along crab apples and dogwood trees when a red fox jumped up. The beautifully primed fox went about 25 yards and looked back at me occasionally scratching itself.

My earliest memory of this area was when I was about five or six years old. My father and I searched a ridge for morel mushrooms one spring. The trees, at that time. were huge. Remnants of those monsters are still present here and there. Some of the stumps are around 6 feet across. Of course, they are now badly decayed and a handful of years from now they too will be gone. I, also, remember hearing my first great-horned owl that evening.

I located a chestnut tree growing. Some time ago I would carry chestnuts, hawthorns, etc and plant in places where the sun light could reach the ground. This tree is about three feet high. Few seem to make it when planted like this.

       I saw a lot of squirrels and I hope to take a few more for a fried squirrel meal. I saw a curious groundhog along a trial too.

Rain was being forecasted so I promised Laurie we would go to Butler shopping on Wednesday. Of course, the day was mostly dry but later breezy.

I may try to get out with Bob on Friday and Saturday for some deer hunting. Weather will play a part in that decision for Friday.

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I was having an issue with a young raccoon eating my bird seed from my back deck. On several occasions I would peak out to see that critter laying on the deck rail sleeping. After a few “banjee-style” war whoops and chases failed I decided to try a more aggressive approach. The ‘coon would run behind some flowers on the deck. This time I armed myself with a pole and chased and pushed on him. He leaped backwards the 12 feet or so from the deck. I haven’t seen him since!

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Deer-0: Me-1

The cough prevented me from going out hunting on October 22. This morning, however, after much thought, I left to pick up Bob around 8:30. I wasn’t coughing much at all.

I heard a shot somewhere over the ridge. I thought maybe Bob shot. Just as reached the crest I noticed a deer standing some 35-40 yards from me. The doe was partially concealed within the green briars. I determined the head was free of a rack and shot. The deer ran off and I continued searching for Bob. We came back within minutes and I began a search for signs of a hit. I did see some blood and the deer again.

I began a stalking style of hunting and saw the deer jump up and move ahead only to stop. I realized the deer was hit hard, but I knew what I needed to do too. I continued the stalk until, finally, I connected. The deer was a button buck. I didn’t know that until the hunt was over due to the amount of briars and tree-tops over much of the area.

Jeremiah, named after the Old Testament prophet

  The smoothbore I have works flawlessly. It is a gun of high quality. Me, on the other hand, have difficulty using it at times. The muzzleloader has a front sight only. I need to take that sight and keep it low along the length of the barrel. This causes me to see a blurriness and a hazy shine on sunny days like today. I am certain our forefathers experienced such problems as , they too, aged. A fact: vision just isn’t as good as when they or us today get farther along in years.

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Despite my lingering health issues with coughs I elected to try to push a deer past my step-father Bob. We saw a lot of deer in the four hours we were out hunting. The irony of hunting is how the best opportunities today were buck. We both had close encounters with more than one buck deer.

Fox Squirrel

  We saw turkeys, lots of squirrels, groundhogs and of course a number of deer.

Around noon I noticed a deer getting up from its bed. The animal, at about 30 yards, actually fell in its haste to get going. I immediately noticed a second deer. Instantly, I pulled “Jeremiah” to my shoulder and shot before it too got traction to speed off. I knew, at the shot, I had missed. I failed to place my cheek tight to the stock causing the front sight to remain high along the barrel. A high-flying lead ball would be the result of my haste. I guess that is why they call it hunting and not getting.

After a lunch, I decided to not go out again and try to get some rest. Maybe tomorrow will prove to be a better day.

Also, I found a weather balloon and mailed the  weather measuring device back to Missouri. I have found several over the years in such a manner.

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Fog in the hollers!

   Yesterday, on Tuesday morning, I had a sore throat. I went hunting deer anyway. This tends to my nature…avoid sickness whenever I can and hunt! I did see 9 or 10 deer including a small buck; couple of turkey flocks; red fox and a bunch of squirrels. However, I decided to quit early because I feared getting a deer and having to drag and butcher this evening. Also, I had plans to go to Elk County to see the elk. I knew I would need rest to try to beat this sickness.

My mother-in-law, Anne Craft had never been to the area and made comments she would like to see the elk. Thus the plans were made. This morning, I didn’t feel all that bad, so the plans were carried through despite my sniffles.

Nice bull!

   North of Dubois, Pennsylvania, I was quick to see the fog problems. Fog was present for the entire trip to Winslow Hill. Because of the fog, we went to the new Elk Center. Here we had time to look around, see a movie (where snow falls onto the viewers) play on interactive wildlife screens and walk some trails.  After the movie, I was surprised to see how much fog had lifted. We went onward to viewing sites.

    The elk were, by this time, nestled in their beds dreaming of whatever it is elk dream about. All told, we only saw around 10 elk. Most were cows, one bull and another that was screened behind brush. Size and actions of the others indicted that this elk was, probably, a bull too.

We did see the beautiful mountain range. I had always wished I settled in up in those parts. Those sights alone are worth the time. We saw two flocks of turkeys; two deer; a hen pheasant and this interesting little fellow in the photo. 

Anne felt blessed to see some elk and we enjoyed her company. She even bought our lunches!

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