My step father, Bob Miller had been wanting to do one of these hunts for two years. Well, this was the year!
We left Sunday afternoon en route to the hunting site near the community of Everett, Pennsylvania. This lodge is located near the Maryland border and features typical Pennsylvania mountain range and terrain. The name of the hunting site is Wilderness Hunting Ranch at: www.thewildernessPA.com
Neither, Bob or I, knew what to expect as we entered the beautiful lodge filled with taxidermy mounts. New faces, unknown policies. Only one other hunter would be hunting on Monday. We liked the idea few would be around.
Monday morning, I was up extra early and walked outside. The brilliance of the night sky was breath-taking! One could see a multitude of stars seldom viewed in Pennsylvania due to atmospheric conditions and lights from development. I stood there gazing and was blessed to see 4-5 shooting stars! Off in the distance the hoots of the Great Horned Owl and a Barred Owl broke the silence a few times. The loud bugles of a mature elk vibrated the lands.
After a great breakfast, Kevin, Bob and I entered the woods in search of some red stags. Kevin was scheduled to take us into the woods to locate the stags. For those not in the know, the red stag resembles our native elk in many ways. They are smaller in size with ours estimated to be around 450 pounds each. The hair color is a reddish-brown.
The stags, four in all, were soon spotted. They made a retreat past Bob. Bob missed! We searched for sign of a hit and found none. Kevin thought, maybe, we should check Bob’s gun after some questioning. We, checked through several shots at about 70 yards and found the 30:06 needed some fine tuning, but this would not the time to do so. Bob would need to compensate some possibly in another shot was to happen.
Later, we approached a crest on the hill when suddenly we saw stags moving at extremely close range. One stopped, but because of the contour of the hill, I could see about a third of the stag’s upper body. I quickly aimed, shot and missed. Kevin and I, both thought the stag was hit because of the actions. Bob said he saw ground flying into the air on the hill’s edge immediately in front of the stag. We searched and determined that was a miss too. I was down. Since 1993, when I received this Remington 30:06, I have never missed on two bear and a number of deer. Granted there were years I used the flintlock in place of the rifle. My record was now shot. (Pardon the pun.) My confidence was greatly lessened!
We spent much time walking about. We saw Russian boars; fallow and white-tails and the, earlier mentioned, bull elk. Ravens were very vocal and common.
One happy Bob and his Red Stag
We viewed the stags several more times and missed out on shots. However, sometime during the morning two other stags came into the hunt. Finally, things were coming together. We cautiously approached the stags as Bob moved down slope to gain a position in case they worked past him. A couple did as Bob shot. the stag fell, got up and Bob’s second shot sealed the deal. Bob had a red stag!
I stalked along using trees to try to conceal my approach as much as possible. Shortly, I was in the 75-85 yards range, but the stags seemed to move before I could settle the crosshairs. Other times trees blocked enough to make for a less than perfect shot. The stags were nervous, but as I waited one moved and allowed his full front quarters to be viewed. My shot was perfect as the big animal moved away about 40 yards and crashed. We couldn’t see him down, but the noise told us what had transpired. We walked back to Bob first and then turned to check for the other stag. We found him down for keeps.
Bob and I with Red Stag
My stag was a 5×4 and Bob’s stag was a 4×4. We stayed at the lodge that night enjoying quality time with those other people there. A group of several men spent their time helping Joe harvest a non-typical buck and a ram. Joe was in a serious car accident and now is paralysed from the waist down. Another hunter came for a Tuesday hunt. He brought his eighty-something year old father to tag along if possible. I told him to cherish his dad! these people we met were all great people. We enjoyed them very much as we spent many hours playing pool and laughing and talking.
We will be going back in a week or so to pick up the butchered and packaged meat
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