Archive for the ‘Flintlock Hunting’ Category

A Shot Not Taken

  The morning produced rainy conditions, so any thoughts of chasing deer with a flintlock smoothbore would need to wait. Jeremiah, my .62 caliber smoothbore was anxious to get out so once radar showed rainless conditions, I called my step father, Bob Miller about hunting. He agreed to meet me and travel to a nearby game lands.

Yesterday was Bob’s eighty-fourth birthday so my plans were to set him up and push some of the thick brush hoping to move some deer. Family is coming later this afternoon for a meal and cake to celebrate his day.

The first three drives produced no deer for Bob. I was surprised for this is great habitat for deer hideaways. I did find an old weathered arrow from some person’s hunt of the past. We did see a Ring-necked Pheasant.

However, the fourth push granted me an experience to enjoy. I was moving through the thick vegetation when I spotted a deer about fifteen yards away. The doe hadn’t seen me which very much surprised me.  This young doe began angling to my right. MY thumb was on the hammer, but I did not cock the flintlock. I just didn’t feel like shooting this deer. The doe was as close as ten yards and, yet, never saw me. Two more deer were down over from my position at about twenty  to  twenty-two yards.  I was happy with my decision!

Bob never saw any deer.

I need to write an update in regards with my sighting issues. They are gone! What a joy to see the sights of my flintlock with clarity again.  I suffered with this for over a year. I picked up a new pair of glasses Friday morning and immediately sensed better vision. So what was the problem over this time frame? The only answer I can come up with is an error in prescription form the glass-making side of the eye-glasses scenario.

My eye doctor once I complained about checked my prescription again and conducted other eye-related tests. He said his numbers were correct and the prescription was correct. The paperwork was correct with his numbers from the company that actually produced the eyeglasses. I truly believe someone at the company had all the paperwork correct, but the actual production of the eyeglasses was not correct with my prescription and the paperwork. Could this be possible?  Anyway, I am so elated to see the sights clear again!!! Wish me luck!


Old arrow remains


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Bob and I could see the colors in the eastern sky as we traveled to meet with my cousin, Donnie. The old adage about red sky in the morning must be accurate for around ten  o’clock the clouds had covered much of the sky overhead.

Prior to the clouds, however, the emerging sun made for some beautiful landscapes. One word comes to mind is vibrant. Since I tagged out for deer, I was to be the official “dog” again. This time my camera was the weapon of choice. I took almost seventy photos today as I pushed the woodlands for deer.


Bob and Donnie headed up a hollow as I circled below. I walked along a farmer’s lane with an acre or so of woodlands below me and the bigger woods above. I immediately spotted two deer bedded down. I used my brains on this adventure and walked past and angled downslope before turning directly towards them. It worked. The two deer entered the main section of woods and I heard a shot.  I began walking through the woods towards my kinfolk.

  I entered the hollow and could see Donnie had missed. I went up and over on their tracks to circle the back side of the hill. I saw a doe. I followed and  realized the deer were moving around to where the two hunters were waiting. Eventually, I came back around as well and spotted two deer in their beds. Donnie and Bob were just over this hill. I moved the deer and Bang!  the two doe went below Bob and he missed.

After discussion I went around them and circled  to try to move these deer back towards the hunters. I saw a deer feeding and moved it slowly towards the hunters. BANG!  A minute later…BANG!  A deer walked to within fifteen feet of me. Two more misses! This all happened by 10:30 A.M.

I would later see a racked buck.

MORE PHOTOS:                                                                                                                                                                                                      



Bob (L) and Donnie


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   Those of you following this site have noticed how I have expressed concern over vision issues. I am concerned as well for I have little information to  make decisions as to what to do next. Low light and nighttime vision is poor. Nighttime driving with my new glasses creates starburst imagery with everything that either is lit up or shines. I seem to see well just walking about, but sometimes clear focusing with my camera is observed to be lacking once I see the final photo. Sighting on firearms is very poor. I have issues focusing on the sights and the deer.  Having stated all of these issues my self-confidence was in need of boosts.

This morning I was to “dog” or push the woods for my cousin, Donnie and my step-father, Bob. I grabbed my 62 caliber smoothbore named Jeremiah to carry. This firearm has a front sight only and is much like a shotgun. The barrel has no rifling hence a smoothbore. Jeremiah is capable of sending a nice chunk of lead out of the barrel. However, because of the lack of rifling the accuracy suffers quickly. (Rifling: consists of a number of grooves or riflings cut into the inner barrel of a firearm. This rifling creates a spin on the lead ball or bullet which helps in accuracy and distances.)I have always tried to shoot forty yards or under, but I have taken some deer with this flintlock at yardages up to around 60 yards.

Close-up of Jeremiah. The powder horn was one of my creations.


I am a dog! My task was to push areas for deer. The second drive found about 8-9 deer very low along a creek. I was walking along a wood line to get into position to begin the push. when I saw the deer. they began to move out and I soon saw around six deer going up the hill across the road. I hoped some others moved around this side of the hill and would work along towards the kinfolk hunters.

  I started into the woods slowly and soon noticed a deer walking along. I watched intently as the doe began moving diagonally towards me. The doe

Coyote track

stepped behind a large tree and I hunkered down with flintlock in aim and cocked. She stepped clear of the tree and began moving broadside and the thirty to thirty-five yard shot was true. The doe expired very quickly with a heart shot. I felt redeemed some as I felt a little confidence return to my old bones. I gave thanks for the event and quickly tagged and removed the entrails. The drag was about three-fourths of a mile on snow.

The others saw some deer, but no shots were offered. I continued pushing until about noon.


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 I hunted all day in the cold teen temperatures and wind. I mean all the day with no breaks for lunch or getting warm.  I pushed in the morning hours for my step-father, Bob. I saw a lot of deer.

At one time I noticed a deer pawing the ground at over a hundred yards. The deer bedded down. I could see other bedded deer, too. The woods conditions are still

Old Jacob my fifty caliber flintlock.

crunchy due to single digit temperatures and not enough snow to insulate the leaves and ground. I crawled on my knees and occasionally scratched at the leaves. I made the distance to about ninety yards before the deer began standing. they weren’t overly alarmed hence the slow walk over the hill. Bob saw the eight deer, but the distance was too long for a shot.

I saw two does moving along and I waited. later, once I realized they weren’t going to come my way I tried a stalk. I saw the one doe at about fifty yards and raised the flintlock and decided to not shoot since everything wasn’t focusing well.

I almost went home around 1:00, but that urge to hunt pushed me along. Good thing that urge did for I was still seeing deer. I watched a doe go downslope behind a fallen wild cherry tree. The doe saw me but stopped anyway. I watched for a bit and lost the deer visual. I eased downslope when I saw the deer farther down the hill. This doe worked along and began a slow feed towards me, but very slow.

As I watched and waited a legal buck walked past her at about fifty yards. The rack appeared to be about 16 inches across. The right antler had the three points up making it legal. The buck walked behind the down cherry tree as well.  Later, Two more doe showed up with him. There must be good food supply for they fed for a long time. I was behind a tree for over two hours often shivering. The buck walked below me again and bedded down.

The doe below me appeared close. I elected to wait to about thirty-five yards before shooting. Upon shooting the doe flinched and walked a short distance and stopped. I couldn’t see a hit, but I knew the shot connected. The doe laid down. Amazingly, the buck remained and the other two deer continued eating. After a wait I began approaching the doe I had shot. She jumped up and went a short distance. The next shot finished it. The time was 3:50 P.M.


The bedded buck.

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I had come to the conclusion that a deer season without a deer could be reality. Illness and pains; bad luck and fate; blunders and misses all occurred  dsc_0010within the last  month and a half. My confidence had been shattered.

I didn’t hunt Thursday or Friday and I hadn’t planned on hunting today. (January 14) However, last evening I decided to hunt for a few hours if the weather didn’t get too bad. Freezing rain was a possibility. This began around nine o’clock along with snow. This fact kept me checking the pan powder often. I would have dampness being absorbed into the pan powder at times despite my efforts to keep my powder dry. Several times I needed to dig the caked powder, dry and add fresh powder.

I was sneaking around the best I could under the frosty conditions on the forest floor when I saw a bedded deer about eighty yards away. I soon noticed a second deer bedded along with a meandering doe. (A fourth deer would later be viewed.) This moving doe spotted me standing. She failed to identify me and was curious and walked towards me a short distance. Limbs kept me from shooting, but I hoped for an open shot.

dsc_0006 The fourth deer snorted as the deer began moving around. They walked away wondering what happened. I quickly backtracked and moved to where I hoped they might come through. They went down over the hill. I would see another deer feeding in posted land.

I saw some squirrels and flushed a turkey off a hill.

I was heading towards the jeep to quit since I had planned to exit around one o’clock. However, something interesting happened. I spotted a turkey

Note the eye!

Note the eye!

standing with its head pulled in as if it might be sleeping. I have witnessed something I had called “stupor time” with turkeys. I observed an entire flock one winter stop and go to sleep. the flock of 30-35 birds all did this for about half an hour before beginning to feed again.

I walked close enough to reach down and touch this turkey before it reacted. It few before getting tangled among limbs and falling back to the ground. the turkey began walking about giving the alarm call. The bird went airborne again only to land in multiflora rose. I lost sight of the turkey. I took a number of photos and the left eye appears to be blind. Also, the head seems to me to not look right.


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I left the dentist office around one 0’clock in the afternoon on Monday, January 9. Preliminary work was completed for the process of having a tooth again. (I broke my tooth off a week ago.) I went home and decided a should grab the flintlock and try for a deer in the remaining time.

I arrived at the site I had planned to hunt around 1: 40 P.M. I was excited with the changing weather conditions.  The sun had been out some this day and the temperatures and risen from the single digit temps previously. the winds were not as strong either. Also, I had seen 5-6 deer feeding as I was driving to this hunt. Maybe the deer were out feeding due to the changes.

Immediately, I noticed the eastern slope was not as noisy as the previous two hunting days for me. The snow has softened and the frost seemed to be exiting the ground.  That observation changed as I climbed the hill. the top was still crunchy and most of the woodland steps produced the twin sounds of compaction of snow and busting frost.

I was sneaking along on the eastern side of the hill when I saw a deer’s body about eighteen yards away. I readied Old Jacob and tried to determine which side of the body was the vital area. I COULDN”T SEE THE NECK OR HEAD due to brush! With the flintlock read I leaned to my right and saw the definite view of a deer eye and ear. As experienced sneakers know, often the deer will react immediately upon reaching the point of direct eye contact. the doe was up and gone in a second. I saw one more deer this evening.

We were told via the weather people  January 10 would have snow early changing to freezing rain by 9-10 and turning to rain later.  I didn’t plan to hunt for this all sound problematic for a flintlock rifle. If that black powder gets wet the result is a failed shot. However, by 11:00 I decided I should gamble and go hunting. The snow was fresh and no rain had fallen. I was ready to go just prior to 11:30 and I noticed a little very light rain.

I decided to go to a local state game lands to try my luck. Before I pulled out of the drive the rain had picked up still I was going to try a hunt. The five miles produced slightly heavier rain.  I saw a ringneck hen flush.

I soon would look over an embankment to see two deer feeding. I froze. they were about 70 yards. A third deer materialized. A deer began moving towards me at an angle and I was hopeful all of this would come together. The deer stopped at about 45 yards. I couldn’t get a clear shot due to limbs, briars and vines. I could only hope as I noticed the wind wasn’t right for me. The deer would begin snorting, but she held her ground for another five minutes. the other two deer were still feeding but moving away. The close deer eventually moved to them and they all three moved around a hill into posted property. The rains increased.




I still-hunted through an area with a lot of oak trees. Deer feeding had occurred sometime this morning. I was startled to see a mid-size opossum feeding on acorns. I took some pics as the rain increased. the snow in the hour since I started this hunt had decreased by about fifty percent.  I was really wet with an all attempt to keep the rifle dry. I used a treated piece of leather draped over the lock.  dsc_0013

I spotted a deer standing at about fifty yards, but brush didn’t allow for a clean shot. A second deer was spotted. She had two steps to complete her stance for an open shot. The first deer turned and moved and the second deer turned to join. This gully had a section of very thick brush about thirty feet in length and 15 feet in width. If the deer moved out in any direction they would be visible. A major problem for me was a growth of vines and briars blocking my view.

I had set down on a leg in the wet snow figuring the shot was at hand. After five minutes, my leg was soaked and I was getting cold. I believed those deer had to have bedded down. I stood up and moved a couple of steps to my left as I watched two deer jump up and move out. Oh well! I decided to head home. I shot the flintlock as I reached the vehicle and he went off perfectly despite the heavy rain.

I returned home and received a call that the dentist had a cancel and I went and had my tooth completed repaired!     dsc_0012

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dsc_0016 Friday, January 6, we had a woodland covered with about one and a half inches of snow. However, the  dsc_0014temperatures were frigid. The morning began with in single digits. Fortunately, the morning was calm. Unfortunately, for me the winds began picking up about mid-morning. I’ll explain later.

I walked some trails first thing in the morning just to get a feel as to how the deer had moved over the night hours. Along these trails I saw coyote and fox tracks. The only deer tracks I saw had much snow in them hence they had been in the area prior to midnight for the snow had quite around that time. Walking would be noisy in this snow. All leaves underneath the snow were frozen and each step sounded like compaction and crunch.

I continued to walk and upon entering a field tracks became numerous and that would be the norm for the rest of the time I hunted. Eventually, I approached a round top area where seeing around can be good. I would see four deer walking along, but out of range. I observed these deer until they had walked to my extreme left. I caught a glimpse through the brush of the lead deer turning left. I knew what I needed to do! I backtracked quickly and set down on a log. if those deer maintained the direction they should walk to me. The increasing wind was hitting me on my left side. Sometimes I felt it more directly upon my face.

A total of about ten minutes elapsed when I first noticed deer movement. Here they come! The lead deer was about forty yards when she stopped and turned to her left. I could see the alert mode. I wondered what alerted her. There was enough limbs that I couldn’t shoot. In a moment she backtracked and was out of view. It was then I noticed the change in wind upon my neck. I actually talked internally that the deer was going to be mine! Things can change fast! I saw a flock of turkeys and a number of squirrels.

dsc_0025  I quit the area and went to visit my mother and Bob. I went behind the homestead to an area covered with goldenrods and brambles and briars. I saw three deer moving along the side of the hill. I trailed them and found they had crossed into posted property. I saw three more deer and they did the same thing. I decided to call the hunt.

Turkeys gotta eat, too!

Turkeys gotta eat, too!

Today, the 7th, found the very same conditions…single digits and increasing winds as the day went along. Also, the snow was still very noisy to walk on.

I moved into the woods to watch. Very cold to remain immobile for much more than half an hour. I was easing along and I noticed the hind quarters of a deer about 130 yards away. There would be five deer total as they went into a patch of green briars. I moved along hoping they might change their course and come towards me. They did.

I had Old Jacob up against a tree. The lead deer was moving along and within range. I cocked the hammer and the deer stopped abruptly upon hearing the sound. I was trying to align the site, but a tree of about eight inches or so in diameter lined up with the deer’s front shoulder. The deer was looking for the source of the sound. I began checking the rearward deer for a shot. A moment passed and the deer turned back the way they came.

I employed a circle movement to try to intercept them. I failed. The deer went an incredible distance for an annoyance they didn’t identify…ME! I quit about 1:30 to head home. I saw eight deer today. Squirrels wre setting tight this morning.

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