Archive for the ‘Misc. Hunting’ Category

The target

This morning I went to practice some with my fifty-caliber flintlock named Old Jacob. Some may remember from reading past entries here of how I faced so much difficulty in the last two deer seasons.  I shot ten shots and failed to bring home any meat during last year’s various deer seasons. the year before I shot eight shots. Some of misses were difficult to believe. However, within those eight shots I still harvested three deer. I sensed things were happening with my eyes, but didn’t really seem to grasp how bad my vision had evolved.

I visited the eye doctor and had a  number of tests done. New glasses didn’t seem to help. Gloomy days and low-light conditions of mornings and evenings were hazy. The last years despite new glasses didn’t work. I believe the difficulty was from trying to align two primitive flintlock sights and seeing the target clearly. I think I was subconsciously raising the front end of the flintlock to better see the front sight thus shooting high.

Well, a few things have happened since last deer season. One is that I had primitive peep sites installed on my fifty-caliber.  Secondly, I, once again, went to the eye doctor and received new glasses. Thirdly, I had another pair of glasses made without any bifocal lens. I am hoping for much better shooting.

In July I shot a few rounds with the new sight, but decided to not shoot  until I had the above mentioned glasses bought including the set without bifocals.  However, before acting on the new glasses I had a health issue. I guess I should say I had a potential health issue. Through lab work the doctor discovered a positive reading of potentially that dreaded C-word. I found out definitely in mid-September that the reading was a false reading. I acted on the glasses

My stepfather began having issues and we recently discovered the extent of his health. He does have cancer. As I type this  entry his chemo will begin in less than a week.

I had a day to accomplish some things for the rest of the week is going to be busy. I gathered up my flintlock shooting gear and a cardboard and I left to shoot a few rounds.

The above target has given me some hope The lowest shot was the first one. I adjusted how I used the peep sight and shot a nice group at thirty-five yards. The highest shot was at forty-five yards. these shots were completed without a shooting bench. I could see a slight sway of the front sight. I could use more practice for confidence.

The early muzzleloading season for deer begins on October 19th. Also, the week has Pennsylvania’s first muzzleloading season. The temperatures will determine if I hunt bear or not. Since I will be, most likely, hunting alone I have to think ahead as to how to get any bear out of the woods. The second step is to drive to a bear check station to be determined and then to a butcher while cool temps rule over the area. I don’t want a bear that much to sacrifice the meat if at all possible.

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This morning I had the honor to have breakfast with two friends and makers of fine turkey calls. Lonnie Gilbert from Greenwich Ohio came to hunt with Kip Feroce. I have completed ink art for both of these fine men.

Kip Feroce on the left with Lonnie Gilbert

Kip Feroce on the left with Lonnie Gilbert

Their morning hunt was a good one. They worked a gobbler for some time. The big bird was close, but not visible. The hunt took a different turn when a coyote seeking out Kip’s calls came within five feet of  Kip. The coyote wanted turkey pot pie for it’s meal. The hunt would be over. Kip called me about 9:00 to meet them which I gladly accepted.

One of my personalized "Ferocious" Box Calls by Kip.

One of my personalized “Ferocious” Box Calls by Kip.

Kip is the owner of Ferocious Turkey Calls. He makes a mighty fine box call. He uses various woods of interest from cedar, walnut, sycamore, chestnut and many others. I have a cased set of many wood types from Kip.  His calls sound great!!!! Kip’s web site is: http://ferociouscalls.com Lonnie is another great call company. His calls have received awards from the National Wild Turkey Federation. They, too are beautifully made. I am the proud owner of one.  Lonnie’s company is called: Buckeye Boxes! His phone number is: 419-750-0104. His e-mail is: katidid4@verizon.net. Give him a call or check out Kip’s web site. You won’t be disappointed with their calls.

My personal Lonnie Gilbert Turkey call

My personal Lonnie Gilbert Turkey call

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Two Red Stags!

My step father, Bob Miller had been wanting to do one of these hunts for two years. Well, this was the year!

Bull Elk

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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Dreary Damp Morning


Native switch grass

  Bob and I headed for State Game Lands 137 at Distant, Pennsylvania this morning. The intents were several. First we hoped to enjoy a nice walk in the natural world. Secondly, we hoped to find some ringneck tracks. Hunting the ring-necked pheasant without trained dogs can be difficult. We were hoping to push the odds by tracking.

The  snow we received last Friday and Saturday had melted dramatically over the weekend and Monday due to warming temperatures and rain.

We endured the cold winds and damp feelings for several hours walking, at least, four miles I estimated. I spotted two deer laying. We saw plenty of deer tracks. We, also, saw coyote; raccoon; porcupine; squirrel; rabbit; and chipmunk tracks, but no pheasant tracks.

The exercise was needed and, although, we failed at locating any birds we still had some quality time afield. That is all I ever need!

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An orange hue line

  The sun glowed an orange hue early in the morning hours. The orange-red colors engulfed the landscape until the rising sun turned into the brightness of the dawn. I felt fortunate to have been in the woods to witness the event. The colors do not last long.

The deer seemed to have moved away for all morning I only saw four deer and Bob saw one. Deer hunting is like that at times .(We later saw three deer while traveling home.) 

The amazing  part of the day was the weather. It seemed like mid-March!  The sun was bright. The sky was blue. The temperatures were cool early, but quickly turned spring-like. I kept thinking I should be hearing gobblers gobbling and see turkeys strutting!

I was armed with my .410 H&R shotgun from my youth. I thought to bag a few squirrels to make a feast for the family. (I had one squirrel in  the freezer already.) While walking towards Bob I heard some wood noise and looked to see a squirrel which I quickly bagged. Up to this point, squirrels were not on my mind. The sight and sounds placed me into “Squirrel-mode”.  I soon saw a couple more, but avoided shooting due to plenty of witch hazel and grape vines blocking perfect shots. I waited for better shots.

        Soon I saw another squirrel which I bagged. I took a few photos as memories. My tradition has been for years to clean the squirrels in the woods. I then place the entrails and hides in the trees for the critters to utilize.

I had just completed cleaning the two squirrels when another appeared. I loaded the shotgun and took the shot. Three squirrels… a meal was to be reality!

I, also, saw a great-horned owl flying among some pines.

Porcupine den with droppings

   One subject of interest was the discovery of a porcupine den tree. Porkys were very scarce in my haunts until rather recently. Many people hate the critters, bit I find them a beautiful mammal with some very interesting traits and body parts…the QUILLS! My friend C. W. Nebinger had an expensive vet bill when three of his English Setters became at war with one of these creatures!  OUCH!

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I finally managed to get out to the woods to hunt deer with my flintlock rifle, Old Jacob. Monday I had Christmas family events to attend and Tuesday the skies allowed for rain all day. This morning I was disappointed when the forecasted snow was very scarce. However, during my travel to hunt the sleet was falling soon to be followed with fairly heavy snow. The constant snow did make seeing a little more difficult, but there is something about hunting primitively in inclement weather that attracts me. The winds were strong today too!           

Site of shot

The first two deer I saw were laying ahead of me. I saw the one rising, but I couldn’t get my leather hammer and frizzen cover off the flintlock’s lock fast enough. (I had this leather over my firearm’s lock to aid in keeping the snow and moisture away from the pan powder.) Bob, who was hoping for a chance on one of the deer I moved failed to see them since the two went opposite to him.

Bob later went in another direction and I began sneaking around. I watched three deer arise about 80 yards from me. They had much snow on their backs. Each deer looked as if a cloud of smoke emerged from their bodies as they took off. (Deer fur is hollow and of excellent insulation quality. Indians and early colonists would use deer hair in the mocs in winter.)     

Old Jacob

I circled the deer and later saw where they had crossed a gas well road and went down towards the creek bottoms.  My plan was to go around and still hunt the Cherry Run creek bottoms and search for them. However, it wouldn’t be long until my plans would change.

     I walked this gas well road when suddenly I saw two deer followed by a third deer cross the road just ahead of me. The three deer entered the thick woods and all turned to their left and came about 36 yards from me. I snorted and the lead deer stopped and in an instance the doe was down for keeps. I removed the ramrod and reached for the powder horn and measure. I realized I had no need to reload.

Later, after I met up with Bob I spotted a doe about 28-30 yards from us standing. I excitedly  whispered “Bob..Bob..Bob”  and said “to the right!” Bob only saw a brief viewing of the tail by this time. I could see the deer walking about in the crabapples. Bob couldn’t see it.

All told, I had seen fourteen deer and three squirrels. (Three deer were laying after I had already shot the one. I managed one fair photo in the brush.)

    I always hated to get a deer early on a hunt. I felt somewhat cheated this morning too!  Now I am without any deer tags and the weather is now beginning to seem like winter. Oh well, I can still chase some for Bob and Cousin Donny!    

Bird nest

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Pheasant Hunting


    I had a terrible night. Suzie, my Springer Spaniel, apparently had her diabetes “all messed up”. She had to go out six times to do her business. I was having dizzy spells. These scared me. I am thinking…mini-strokes??? Each of the five events lasted about five seconds and the earth shook violently. I have had these in the past. The doctor leans towards these spells as just part of my other issues of asthma; allergies; sinus issues, etc. So little sleep I had!

Chap Nebinger

   My friend, C.W.Nebinger (Chap) invited me on a pheasant hunt. As you may have surmised, I wasn’t feeling all that well yet and I was very tired. I struggled to get organized and off we went to hunt.

Chap, currently, has eight dogs. He raises English Setters and just loves training and hunting these beautiful dogs. This would be my first time hunting ring-necks over dogs in many, many years.                                                                            

We hadn’t went ten feet into a corn strip when the dogs pointed and the rooster flew out behind us. I hesitated for Chap to shoot since he invited me. I always believe if you are a guest the one who invites should get more the shots if possible. My intention was to try to get some good photos over actually harvesting any birds. Chap shouted for me to take the shot and I missed. The bird by this time was ranging rather far. (The best excuse I have.)

Dora on point!

  Shortly, The next point occurred and a hen flew up in front of me. I raised the shotgun and remembering the hens weren’t legal law of the past I lowered the gun before realizing the hens are now legal! Chap realizing my hesitation shot and missed too. I missed one more and I needed some “redemption.” (My second excusefor a miss was the fact I was using a borrowed shotgun.)               

The next couple of hours produced more birds and Chap ended up with 4 pheasants and I shot two. (FYI: I didn’t miss again!) We, also, saw some quail and deer.

Freckles on point

   Chap’s two dogs of the day were, Dora and Freckles. They are good dogs that were totally absorbed in the hunt. They love it!

I arrived home and cleaned my two birds. Suzie enjoys sniffing around when I bring game home to clean. I was down trying to rest by 2:45 and I woke up at 7:00P.M. As I write this entry I seem to be improving.         

One happy little pooch!

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