Archive for the ‘Flintlock Hunting’ Category

I was unsuccessful during the flintlock season. However, I should not have been unsuccessful. Something has happened to me as I aged. Readers of my blog know of the sighting issues I have had in recent years, and I had taken steps to try to curtail those problems. I am going to take the long barreled flinter to the range under extremely controlled conditions to rule things out in regard to the sights. I have lost confidence in my abilities, and I am thinking the loss of confidence has affected my psyche. I am believing my issue is in my head telling me I am going to fail, and I do. Whatever, three misses that should not have been misses caused to quit hunting this year. Also, dealing with health issues with my mother and stepfather has me feeling down.

With all of this being said I did have some interesting events unfold while hunting. I will include a few here for my personal journal remembrance. First of all, I saw a lot of deer! I saw a flock of turkeys, a couple of rabbits, fisher tracks, lots of squirrels and various other small wildlife.

One day behind my homestead, I saw five bucks running together. They were out of range, but I went at an angled and circled around and crept upon them to about forty-five yards. I was bringing up the rifle on one I deemed legal because I could easily count the legal points, as per Pennsylvania law, when the buck spotted me. I froze, but he and the others walked off and crossed a township road into posted properly. I would have missed anyway, no doubt.

One day, I stalked a feeding doe. I was closing the gap when she began walking towards me. I eased Old Jacob out from behind the tree and shot only to see the doe standing. She walked off turned and returned. I had reloaded behind the tree and missed again. I was frustrated.

I crept into a wooded area and sat down to watch one morning. Shortly I could see a doe feeding towards me. She bedded down. Too far for me to shoot, but close enough I could see her chewing her cud. The doe eventually put her head on the ground to sleep. Isat for almost three hours and I was shivering at times and cramping up. I decided to crawl while her head was down to close the gap. I hadn’t moved far when her head came up again. I froze. After a bit she arose from her bed and began to walk towards me again, but gradually moved away at an angle. Interesting to be part of, to say the least.

The day I quit hunting found me watching four deer, one being a six-point buck. The buck was nice but illegal, so I eased my camera out of my shoulder bag to attempt a photo if he allowed for it. Meanwhile, a doe that had walked at an angle out of site returned and walked close to me at about forty yards or so. I missed. I spent an hour and a half searching to make sure. The decision to abort the became reality.

The future of my flintlock hunting has many opened-ended questions and concerns for me to resolve. I really do enjoy the flintlock season and hope with some range work and possibly some soul searching, I can resume next season as a new and confident hunter.

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Out For Deer

I made a decision to go after deer this morning, at least until the temperatures climbed to seventy. Actually, Old Jacob, my fifty caliber seemed anxious to be shot.

I crossed a field in the very early moments of the day and saw a deer standing along the field’s edge giving me the eye. I settled against a pine to watch this field until the sun came up. I would be facing the eastern skyline and knew once that bright thing climbs above the tree line my vision becomes hampered some.

I would see five deer at too far distances before getting up to walk out. I hadn’t gone far when I noticed a deer feeding about 130 yards out. Two deer would eventually show up. As they fed towards my position I began to play the mind games about filling a tag or not.

In time, as the sun became higher the two deer walked and fed close to me. I decided not to shoot at this time but take photos.

They walked within fifteen to eighteen yards from me allowing for a few photos before they either, saw a shine of the camera or heard the click of the shutter for they bounded off.

I would see a total of twelve deer until I left at 11:45. I saw two bucks. The temps had become quite warm and I needed to mow anyway. I may go out for bear again tomorrow morning, but I need to quit no later than two o’clock for a commitment.

On a separate entry I will be placing photos of a flock of turkeys I called in this morning.

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Unquestionably my most favorite time to hunt deer is with the flintlock rifle. “OLD JACOB” is the name christened to him in honor of the Kit-Han-ne war chief, Captain Jacob. He was a Delaware warrior during the French and Indian War and was killed in 1756 in, what is now, Kittanning, Pennsylvania.

OLD JACOB is fifty caliber flintlock rifle made in the Andre Verner style from the latter eighteenth century. This particular rifle has taken more deer than I can remember.

The primitive season always begins on the day after Christmas. I am almost exclusively alone in most areas I hunt. Another reason to enjoy the season.

This year I harvested two deer within the season. The first one went approximately a hundred yards and the second one moved about fifteen yards. I butchered them myself and this year made all the meat into burger. I kept some meat back for jerky.

I saw a lot of deer this season with seven hammer cocked scenarios. Most non-hunters can not believe I can be as close as eighteen steps away to thirty steps and not get the shot. Much can happen when deer are close. One problem is getting the rifle up to the shoulder without being spotted. Terrain and underbrush ca, also, bring about failure to shoot.

I did see one buck in the season, but I believe he was a six-point which is illegal to shoot in Pennsylvania. The last day was January 18th. I told my wife I was only going to go hunting if the ground was white and it snowed. Around ten-o’clock while still hunting I spotted a doe feeding at about thirty yards. I prepared for the shot when my thoughts abrupted me into deciding I didn’t want to shoot the deer. I allowed it to walk broadside offering a great shot. I am totally satisfied with the decision. I went home to work at cleaning the firearm.

One other day found my sights on a doe. Two of this year’s fawns came up behind kicking their legs into the air in a playful mood. I didn’t shoot.

A shed.

Fox Squirrel

Hickory Hulls

Old Jacob and my possibles bag with homemade powder horn.

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January has been more spring-like than winter with the exception of only a few days. This morning was no different.

I planned to try to harvest a fat doe this day and I came extremely close on fulfilling that plan. While edging along a field I noticed a doe around twenty-five to twenty-eight estimated steps from me. Some young trees blocked her torso, so I continued the sneak always watching from my peripheral vision. As I walked along I cocked the flintlock’s hammer and “set” the Set trigger. Ten feet later I had a completely opened shot and I stopped to aim the sights. Just a mere millisecond later the doe unnerved and off she went.

In total I would have around 43 deer sightings this day, but no good other shots were offered. However, I did see a nice-looking buck, but he was not legal. The buck sported four points. This deer was still chasing does, too. I hoped she would have turned in my direction but she didn’t and this buck began chasing tail, so to speak.

The squirrels were very active with these warming temperatures. I saw plenty including a Fox Squirrel.

In the pre-dawn morning I heard a Barred Owl several times and later I would see one.

Tomorrow morning I will be out again, but I can only hunt a partial day. My services are needed elsewhere by noon.

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One of those shoot with a camera deer instead of the flintlock.

Besides the numerous issues, dealing with the family over the last six months, one issue had me in a literal emotional distress. That issue was for federal jury duty in Pittsburgh. I have anxieties about certain things. Traffic, such as one finds on SR 28 and within Pittsburgh is one such issue. I don’t feel comfortable within large crowds. Rapid technology changes and dealing with foreign communicators on the phone find me avoiding as much as possible. The list is longer, but you get my drift.

A Cherry Run tributary.

I am thrilled to know, as of this evening the 7th, I will not  on jury duty. With all the issues bottled up in my senses, I actually broke down upon hearing that news. The burdens have been heavy and that release couldn’t contain my feelings at the time. I hunted very little this year between doctor appointments and worries. However, I did get out a little since New Year’s Day with the flintlock.

January 2, found me in familiar hunting haunts. I spotted three deer feeding along a field’s edge and I circled to try to set up catching them coming through the woods. I kicked up three deer wondering if those deer had already moved this far. I moved on and set down among a couple of logs. In a short time I started seeing deer moving around. A deer started moving towards my position and I readied Old Jacob. The deer was within a range from past years, but I am still being cautious with ranges over forty yards or so. The deer bedded down!

I could see deer off and on among the trees, but most were way too far. Another deer showed up and walked to the bedded deer. AFter a while of  feeding it turned and the bedded deer followed it. I circled again and was walking a field’s edge and spotted a fuzzy-faced yearling at about twenty yards. the deer was wide-open and broadside, but I elected to not shoot. I continued around and spotted another deer among saplings and limb. I tried to fond an opening and shot. The deer stood and looked at me. The shot was farther than I initially thought and I hit one of those limbs. I saw a number of deer before heading home, but no shots were offered.

Yesterday, January 7, I hunted for deer and set up watching a grassy right-a-way. I sat almost two hours before loosing the battle with the cold. I began a warm-up walk and was returning on the right-a-way only to see three feeding deer clear across this deep and steep hollow. They were on a reclaimed strip loaded with goldenrods and briars. I began the stalk.

I was around a hundred yards or so from where they were bedded when I herad a voice saying hello. I turned and a woman on a horse with two dogs. were  just below me. She said to say hello to not scare the horse. We had a conversation and I knew the deer, most likely, would have been moved and they were.

  I continued up the hill seeing some deer ocaasionally, but none were close enough for a shot. I spotted a bedded deer across a gulley and watched it get up and begin feeding. I paralleled this deer as I could but never could get close enough for a shot. I crossed the gulley again and was still-hunting and spotted some deer approximately 40 yards away. I could see three deer, but multiflora rose caused me to wait for a more open shot. Suddenly, to my left were three more deer. Now I couldn’t move the flintlock if I wanted without those three deer on my left spooking.

The three deer began walking across a little saddle and reappeared and walked a rim of this hill about 25 yards. The other three deer were going to come right to me so I waited. Probably this was a wrong decision. No, it was a wrong decison. I should have pulled up on the deer above me.

As luck would have it the second three deer moved up and walked the same trail as the first three deer. They stepped across an opening and I waited for the “PERFECT” shot and ended up not firing at all. The hard question for me to answer is why I held off. Any of those six deer were close enough and offered me broadside shots. This mind-set of mine to look for prefect shots causes a lot of deer to move forwards. Oh well!

Now, I seemed to enter into the hunter mode and still-hunted on the trail they were on. I never caught up to them. I suspect with the way the winds were changing that a whiff of Larry reached them and they moved away faster. I quit around one o’clock. I was anxious to get home to find out the results for this jury duty issues and as noted above all is well!!!

As you can see I did “shoot” some deer with the camera. Maybe with a change I this weather I will feel more like pursuing deer.  The weather has in recent days had rather warm temperatures and rain. The upcoming weekend is forecasted at 61 degrees with rain.




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This morning was the start of the third day of Pennsylvania’s primitive Deer season. The dark hours began with a not-so- good event for me. While traveling to my hunting area for the day I started one of my coughing and choking spells. This is asthma related and I have them from time to time. I had to quickly pull aside to complete this bout. These events are scary and I feel, almost, to the point of black out at times. Luckily the don’t last long. However, I feel weakened for a time afterwards.

I climbed a hill enjoying the cool air in my lungs. I set up on a rock and waited for an hour until the day was bright. I then started a still-hunt method of sneaking around nd watching for bedded or feeding deer. I saw a number of deer this day, but none offered any chance of a shot. The first day, December 26, allowed for three doable shots, but I didn’t take any shots. I am still working on confidence building after some time of having seeing my flintlock sights. The three shots were around fifty to fifty-five yard shots and I hoped for closer action.

The second day found enjoyment with turkeys. Early I began to hear turkey chatter and eventually heard fly-down wing beats.  Minutes later gobbling was heard as the birds climbed the hill towards a fifty-foot right-a-way. (I got a big gobbler near this site last spring.) Other turkeys began yelping and gobbling behind me.

I set here for almost two hours and just had to stand and stretch my buttock muscles. While standing I noticed turkeys at the top of the right-a-way. I was in a bind. My camera was in my shoulder bag on a log. Periodic rain caused me to keep the camera within safe cover. Now I couldn’t move to retrieve the camera. I remained frozen in place.

A mature gobbler gobbled behind me and the thirteen turkeys above me started to run down the slope before taking flight. They landed approximately twenty-twenty-five feet from me.  I remined still. The gobbler gobbled again and all these young gobblers gobbled in sink. What an adventure being part of this and so close.

Today, at another site, I saw some turkey heads at a round top. I assumed the birds had seen me, but as I moved over this round top all I could see were turkeys running, flying…some going left, some going straight, and some going right. I had a turkey break! I had to set down and call in birds.

The turkeys didn’t start to call until one and a half hours went by. However, one bird came in silent early on. Once the birds began calling I crawled into a depression and readied the camera. I had turkeys almost run me over. I couldn’t keep a clear focus. Later on I heard one and then another  and called this gobbler in. What a grand time I had.

During my time afield I saw lots of squirrels, barred Owls and a Red Fox.

I had been feeling very anxious recently with so much going on. Friday evening I had to call Pittsburgh office concerning federal jury duty. I hate going to the city for I know little about that place, traffic is always an issue. Parking is a pain. every morning the news talks of recent shootings. No I prefer to say away. Luckily for me, I was not selected for this coming week. I still have to deal with anxieties for I have to call again next Friday.



Owl pellet



Bedded doe from last week.



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Old Jacob with his new “peep” sight.

Most of my friends know how I enjoy hunting with the flintlock rifles.  I love the gracious flow of the wood, the character and beauty of the Pennsylvania long rifles of the eighteenth century. The last two flintlock seasons I had not done very well with my shooting abilities. I missed many deer with my flintlocks only tagging two. Last year I did not get any deer. Some of the shots I took traditionally would have been a “down-deer.” Trips to the eye doctor didn’t help despite numerous test on the eyes.  Last summer I contacted specialist about Lasik-surgery. I wasn’t a candidate. A friend suggested peep sights. I could readily see an advantage, but I wasn’t ready to place a more modern style of sight on my traditional rifle named, Old Jacob. Last year’s mishaps eventually forced a discussion with an avid flintlock shooter. (Old Jacob was a custom-made rifle of the Andrew Verner school of gun building. He lived in eastern Pennsylvania and created this style of stock. during the latter part of the seventeen-hundreds.)

I visited a friend, Curt Boal. He is the owner of a black powder shop near Fenelton, Pennsylvania. His shop is: Curt’s Blackpowder Shop. Visit: http://www.curtsblackpowdershop.com

Our discussion led me to decide to do a peep sight mounting. This morning, (April 2019) I picked up Old Jacob and I agreed with him that the sight looked good on the flinter. This peep sight is not a modern-style sight of today, but more in line with something found on an earlier rifle of the nineteenth century. The sight sets close on the barrel. I guess I can live with this. Fact is, I have to live with it or give up shooting and hunting deer.

To compensate for my feelings on this style of sight, I simply tell myself the colonial hunter would have had a peep sight if that knowledge of them would have been available.

Thank you Curt for a fine job!


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One of, at least, four illegal bucks I saw while hunting with my flintlock named, Old Jacob.

I have been very neglectful of my journal entries. There has been much going on between my step-father’s accident and a pulled calf muscle on my right leg. I did get some flintlock hunting in, but failed to connect. I never have had the blunders I had this past flintlock season. I “flubbed” ten shots. Most shots would have been down deer in the past, but for some reason, or reasons, I just didn’t fill a freezer. I came up with a thought late and that idea was to have prescription glasses made for distance and not these “progressive” lenses I currently have. maybe that will do the trick.

  One day I went out leaving my priming powder in another coat. I used the 2F powder from my primary loading horn. It is a coarser black powder. I

Notice the strutting gobblers.

eased up onto a feeding doe only to have a hang fire. The powder in the pan went off, but slower than normal. I actually witnessed the barrel move as the gun went off. One happy doe there my friends! I sense I may be having difficulty judging depth perceptions. I am getting older ya know.

I had two unbelievable mishaps this season. I came down over a steep high-wall onto a sphagnum moss area. This is the moss used in making peat moss. It is usually spongy to walk on. Suddenly I was up to my belt in muck and old moss. Either I, instinctively, leaned forward or naturally fell that way. Regardless I was stuck for a few moments and, to be honest, somewhat scared for a brief time. Eventually, I freed my left leg followed by my right leg. I was soaked. My arms were soaked too from falling forward. Of course, I used my flinter to aid in getting out by throwing it ahead to use as support.  Later, I had difficulty getting it to go off, but luckily managed to get enough dry powder moved around in the breech to shoot. My “possibles” bag was completely soaked including patching and such.  Luckily my camera in my shoulder bag didn’t get soaked for the fabric was somewhat water resistant, plus I always keep a plastic bag at the bottom of the shoulder bag.

Another incident occurred while being above another old strip mine. I was easing down at the mine’s edge to seek out a deer when my left leg suddenly went down into a fifteen to eighteen inch diameter hole.  I quickly removed my leg only to see where an old coal mine had shifted allowing for a hole to form hidden under goldenrods and grasses. Lucky me for I didn’t break anything.

  Now let’s get back to the title of this journal entry… Bald Eagles. A friend, Bob “Slim” Bowser contacted me about walking. I told him I was free on Tuesday (January 15, 2019.)and we planned a walk to Crooked Creek to  see if any Bald eagles could be viewed. We lucked out. We saw two mature Bald eagles and, at least, three immature ones on this dark and gloomy morning hike.

We even managed to get some photos of a pair of eagles settled onto an old snag. I met up with another photographer friend named, Craig Remaley. he takes great photos!







Eagle track and wing marks in the snow.


Immature Eagle



Cherry Run Photos


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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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