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Archive for the ‘Flintlock Hunting’ Category

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.

dsc_0003

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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.

 

'possum

‘possum

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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The three deer were hanging tight as I stalked them. I moved to about 70 yards and I could see the eyes upon me. I decided to do the shot.

The morning was dark and gloomy. It was a mixture of rain and heavy wet snowflakes. The sites seemed fuzzy as I pressed the flintlock against the tree. I shot and the three deer took off to high ground. The deer I shot at seemed to have slight difficulty with a leg as it ran. I hurried to check for signs of a hit. NOTHING! I moved quickly along the trail and never once did I see any signs. Was the deer hurt from the earlier deer season.? Did the doe receive a hit via a vehicle since the road wasn’t far?

I spent three hours zig-sagging around the hill sides and eventually on the flat on top. NOTHING! I was perplexed as I tried to go over the morning’s event. Later, I came across a deer bedded tight. Was this the deer? The doe was about thirty yards from me. However, a log of about seven to eight inches in diameter lay across the deer at about a 25 degree angle. I could see the eyes, crown of the head and ears above the log and some of the body below the log. I aimed and the hammer drifted quickly across the frizzen. Spark and smoke occurred, but no bang! Bye Deer!  The doe exited quickly and seemed 100% normal.

I placed more pan powder in the pan and tried again. Spark and smoke once again was the result. I debated to pull the ball wondering if moisture had flowed down the barrel. I decided to add more pan powder and force some through the vent hole. BANG! I moved to the jeep and cleaned the gun. I removed and dried the lock and wiped the barrel interior dry and loaded up. Off again to search for the deer. This time I crossed a road in case she traveled in that direction. I found nothing.

I would see one more deer, squirrels and a flock of turkeys before quitting due to leg pains. Tomorrow, I have the joy of going to the dentist to have, probable, implants. I broke one of my frontal teeth off almost to the gum line. The number two tooth on the right side. Fun time I am sure! By the way, for my journal notes, I am still coughing. Will this be a deer less year for me?

Winds were gusting today. Tree tops were swaying violently and limbs falling.

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Cedar Waxwing (Many Robins were with them.)

Cedar Waxwing (Many Robins were with them.)

Friday, December 30 proved the woodlands to be covered with about one and a half inches of snow!  Finally! The

Deer sign among oaks

Deer sign among oaks

hunt was seeming to hold much promise as I walked uphill to settle at a preferred place to watch. I saw one deer in the thick brush. As I approached my site I could see three deer feeding. I stalked them, but their walking and feeding speed proved to be too much to catch. remember, I was stalking and any mistake would have been discovered thus my movements were very slow.

Almost sunrise!

Almost sunrise!

I reached my destination hoping they would work around to me, however they went down over the hill.  Soon, my sneaking around method to hunt deer would be employed. I saw a total of 21 deer during the day. One doe offered a great shot, but that shot was on a horizon line. I hoped to intercept her later, but that didn’t happen.

I was tracking some deer and one circled and crossed over my tracks. These deer would eventually exit across the road into posted property. BY noon I could see that the snow was already beginning to melt. I quit around 1:30 due to leg pains. I am still coughing at times, too. This is very frustrating.                                                 dsc_0007

Saturday, December 31 would be a short hunt since I had plans in the afternoon and evening. Much snow had already melted. I saw ten deer this morning despite quitting at 10:30.

 

Fog coming from the valley.

Fog coming from the valley.

January 2, 2017 had hopes for me. I felt today might be the day. However, the snow was completely gone and the day produced light rain and drizzle all day. I took precautions to protect my pan powder. I saw 12 deer this day with a few almost presenting Old Jacob with shots. I have been taking some extra time looking deer over since I have seen five different illegal bucks this past week. A couple of these were very small racks and hard to see in brush. I saw a sixth buck but couldn’t get a point count. I saw many squirrels this day and heard turkeys on the roost. I saw a ringneck rooster.

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A Hurried Shot!

 

My powder horn and possibles bag. I made my horn.

My powder horn and possibles bag. I made my horn.

My step-father, Bob, and I began walking to the area we hoped to score on flintlock deer. (December 28) While traveling I noticed some gray that looked I reached an area I like to hunt. Shortly, I saw a deer below me. Through the brush I could see

An economical one-seater!

An economical one-seater!

“horns.” I glassed it and discovered the deer was illegal. However, a deer following this buck was a doe. The deer were busy feeding and were already within a good range. However, lots of tree tops and briars were present. Eventually the little buck came into open view. He continued feeding to my right. The doe wasn’t in any hurry.

A probable issue was at hand.  That buck was surely about to wind me. He stopped with his head behind a tree. Was he smelling my stench at times? I began wondering about the shot!  I aligned Old Jacob (My flintlock named in honor of Captain Jacobs, the Delaware war chief in Kit-Han-Ne in 1756. (Present – day Kittanning, Pennsylvania.) I picked the best shot and the gun fired! I hurried the shot and missed!

This same doe walked to six feet of Bob before he saw it! He had his flintlock leaning against a log and all of the movement scared the doe off without any shots!

Later, I crept up and over a hill’s side to see four bedded deer. Three ran. One stood and offered me a great shot, however, off about 250 yards there is a house. I elected not to shoot! In the afternoon, I spotted four bedded deer at over 100 yards away. They would not allow me to get close as they ran down the hollow. I would see ten deer while hunting this day. I quit around 2:00.

 

Close-up of my powder horn.

Close-up of my powder horn.

Today, December 29, I went to the same area but late in the morning. (I arrived at 10:30. The family was together for breakfast.) I hunted to about 3:30 seeing nine deer, but no shots were granted to me.

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Three Bucks!

dsc_0003  My friend, Terry Williams and I pursued the deer this day. terry has limited hunting days so I was working a lot and being hopeful to have him connect. That didn’t happen!

We parted early in the morning while the woods were still gray and gloomy. I saw a deer about seventy yards out. I couldn’t determine what the sex of the two deer were. They eventually had enough of my presence and removed themselves.

I edged along quietly until I reached an area that allows me to peer over the to search for deer. I was standing along a tree when I saw a deer’s back already within flintlock range. Soon, I saw two more deer. They were all bucks! All three male deer were about 25-30 yards from me feeding, however, not a one had a legal set of antlers. I later saw another deer that exited along the side of a hill. I quickly went around hoping to head the deer off. That didn’t happen.

I decided to work along a creek bottom to chase deer up and over towards where Terry might be. Later, I worked up the side of the hill only to see four deer..and close. Two ran up and over, one ran and stopped and one just stood up at about thirty yards. I couldn’t shoot safely for there is a home about 250 yards in that same direction. The angle of the shot would have been a 99.999% sure and safe shot.  I never raised the flinter as I watched the deer follow the others. They were heading in the general direction of Terry. He never saw any of them. I believe they must have edged towards the creek bottom.

Red Salamander

Red Salamander

I saw a bout 6-7 Gray Squirrels and one Fox Squirrel. I found a Red Salamander.

Terry saw two deer, one being a buck. Step-father Bob came late and left early. He saw one doe.

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