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Archive for the ‘Flintlock Hunting’ Category

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.

Chickadee

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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Redeemed

   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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Success!

 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.

dsc_0003

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