Archive for the ‘Flintlock Hunting’ Category

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.




Read Full Post »

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.



Read Full Post »

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!


Read Full Post »

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


Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

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


Read Full Post »


   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.


Read Full Post »


 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.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »