Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Misc. Nature’ Category


The old adage, “The third time is the charm”  may apply if only I could find that third one.  I came very close on two occasions on bagging a turkey last Wednesday, November 7. In fact I had the shotgun leveled with the safety off both times, but failed to shoot.

Christmas briars

Wednesday morning seemed like a great day for hunting considering the winds and rain this season has had daily. However, at daybreak the winds  began to increase, as well. I do not like hunting turkeys in windy conditions because of the inability to hear well. I can’t hear them as readily and they can’t hear my calling as readily either. Also, a flock of birds can be heard scratching leaves for some distances on calm days. With that in mind my hunting strategy is to cover ground searching for a flock to break up and set up on. Then I can call them back in. I tramped miles this season and haven’t walked onto a flock of turkeys. This is hard to believe.

Anyway, I was disappointed when the winds began at daybreak. I knew hearing roosted birds could be difficult unless I was within a couple of hundred yards. I did enjoy the soft hooting of a Screech Owl for a few moments before circling the point calling and listening.  I reached the point and crossed over the top. I called periodically. Soon, I peered down into a woods and saw a turkey. The bird walked behind a big tree and I dropped. I began calling  and suddenly to my right I heard turkey talk and could even hear the bird walking in the leaves. The turkey was close. All I could do was play the cards dealt.

The Remington 870 was leveled when the bird appeared. Unfortunately for me the turkey came into an area where landowners had dozed ground to level years ago. So mounds of dirt and limbs were present along with grasses and pokeberry stalks. I was in the open and the turkey was in open woods. Unfortunately, this mound and vegetation was between the two of us. However, there was an opening for a chance. The turkey was visible and all the bird needed to do was take a step to be in a clear shot zone. The turkey spotted the orange and darted across that opening and ran down the hill.  I wasn’t prepared for that. I could have shot through the pokeberry stalks, but I was certain the shot would happen.  Oh well some excitement for only a few moments. I hunted all around the area searching for a flock.

  I moved north to hunt an area where I have had much success over the years. I walked up a gas line and peered over an abrupt roll on the terrain and spotted a gobbler scratching for food. The bird was about 45 yards. I backed away immediately.  I moved to my right and set up where I could see seventy yards to where the turkey was. The windy conditions kept the bird from hearing my approach. I began calling.  The bird came in silent, but to my left. The gobbler stepped behind some trees at around twenty yards and the shotgun was ready for a shot. I was sure the shot was to happen, but the bird became suspicious and walked over that knoll directly behind the tree. I called and his head and neck reappeared.

Not a good photo of a Bald Eagle.

A limb between the turkey and myself was directly across the visible head and neck.  A shot would have been successful I am sure, but I held off for the bird only needed to move a couple of inches to expose a great shot. IT DIDN’T HAPPEN! The turkey alarmed putted and dropped over that knoll. I called an had answers for a moment then silence ruled the woods. I tramped around until about 1:00 and quit for the day. I am getting old ya know!

Thursday, November 8, was looking great as well, but again the winds did pick up at daybreak.  I walked and zigzagged a finger ridge and failed to see any turkeys. I quit about noon. These last two afternoons I needed to work with mulching leaves.

When one spends time in the autumn woods amazement occurs as to how rapid the colors of the leaves turn. Also, how the trees can be loaded with their foliage and a few days later the woods can be barren of canopy leaves.

I did see a lot of deer and squirrels while out and about. I watched a Bald eagle for several minutes circling over the Cherry Run Watershed. I have been hearing and seeing Ravens often.

 

 

Morning shadow line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


Yes this fall turkey season has been one with some weather not agreeable to hunting those birds. Rains have been common. Winds have been unyielding. However, this day was rain free and the winds were tolerable. Rains and winds make hearing difficult and the ability to hear is important for turkey hunting.

  I arrived about fifteen minutes later than I wanted because the early morning time had some rain falling. I monitored the radar and could see  the rains were about to cease in my area. Off I went!

I was disappointed while slowly touring the ridgeline straining my ears to hear birds on the roost or to receive an answer to my calling. Nothing.  Approximately two hours into the morning I elected to travel a couple of miles farther south to hear better. The road noises were strong this morning.

I drove a short distance and saw a turkey in a tree about a hundred yards or so from the road. I stopped and watched the bird fly down. Unfortunately the bird was in lease land for hunters from Ohio. I drove just a short distant more and saw several white heads. Yes I could see gobblers among the vegetation. I looked out ahead and could see around eight young birds feeding along. They were all within that same land. I snapped about ten photos and moved on.

 

 

 

 

Deer search…

I began walking up the long steep grade at the planned hunting area. I was about five-hundred feet from the top and I heard a turkey responding to my calling.  I quickly set up, but within a few minutes I became very concerned. The calls did not feel right and I elected to leave the area. My hunch was proved accurate when I saw a pick up parked along a farming/ gas road. I would later see the man and we chatted for about twenty minutes. he was the one calling.

I made a long sweep into promising areas and saw or heard no turkeys. Plenty of deer and squirrels were about the woodlands. Bear sign was found.

I retraced some of my walking and called often. I swept an entire point of this long ridge and repeated the same scenario. No turkeys!

  The time was about 1:30 and I decided to stop in and see my mother and stepfather for a little while.  Tomorrow rain and winds are in the forecast again.

 

Golden Beech

 

Claw marks

 

 

Mmmm..semi-sweet chocolate

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

The turkeys have been remaining hidden thus far.  Weather is been a key to my lack of success, as well as, some bad fate.

  The first day of this year’s season found fairly heavy and steady rain. I donned my camo rain coat, but didn’t bother with my rain pants. A big mistake for me. By mid-morning my pants were so soaked that through wicking actions I was wet to my beltline. I became so wet that the cash in my wallet was soaked. Now that is a lot of rain. I had on the required orange hat and once the hat became saturated the water soaked my hair and the water dripped down my neck. Rain wicked

Beech

around my collar and up my sleeves. Yes I was very wet.

The sounds of rain cancelled any chances of hearing turkeys on the roost.  Add breezy conditions and I found myself at the jeep by around 10:20. Of course I didn’t chance carrying a camera in such conditions.

The second day of the season found high winds and some rain. Another day preventing me to hear roosted birds or hearing them answering my calls. I failed to walk up onto any flocks. Where did they go? I tamped about six hours trying to find a flock.

The following day was the best day for hunting and hearing turkeys , but even with the conditions I failed to locate any turkeys.  The wind wasn’t bad, however a dense fog lasted until ten. I searched for almost seven hours this day.

Wednesday of the first week found my high on a hill at daybreak. I had a hollow on both sides of me, so I increased my chances of hearing roosted birds or so I thought.  Around the time turkeys often begin talking from the trees found an increase in the wind. In short order the winds became fairly strong since rain was scheduled to arrive around noon.

 

October 31st morning

I began a slow trek around the hill’s slope to locates birds.  A small bit of luck occurred about 10:00 in the morning. I walked towards a posted property line. I was going to call and hopefully get an answer and lure birds towards me. With the wind my approach was quiet as I called approximately forty yards outside the signs. A n abrupt slope quickly formed a steep hollow.  My call was immediately answered by that dreaded “alarm putt.” I never saw the bird for it must have been feeding on that slope and my call caused it to raise to see the vocal turkey…me. I never saw the bird. I never heard it running of flying, but the game was over for me. If there would have been a flock I would have seen something to indicate that.

I hunted by walking and calling until noon. I saw a raven, squirrels, many deer including some buck. I, also, found some bear sign. This morning I had  breakfast with the family so I didn’t get out to hunt. I think a break might do me well. I do my Bible Study class later today, too. Tomorrow, November 2, I am scheduled to play music at two different homes. If I decide to hunt my time will be limited.

 

 

 

 

 

Mmmmm…dark chocolate!

 

 

Buck in fog

 

 

 

 

Red Salamander

 

Our native American Chestnut

 

Downy Rattlesnake Plantain

 

Big old tree

Read Full Post »

Messed Up!

Jeremiah and sheepshead mushrooms

I met my step father, Bob for some hunting time. We set up in the darkness at two different sites. There was frost in some areas meaning the temperatures had to be around the freezing point. The day was very windy.

Frost

I was watching a doe at around sixty yards. (Two other deer were about ninety yards.) I was wondering if the closest deer would move closer to me. I

Bull Thistle in mid-October

would soon find out… NO! Bob shot at a deer. The doe I was watching stood at attention only to unnerve and run away from me. I went to Bob to find out his flintlock had a hang fire and he began to drop the barrel only to have the sounds of Ka-Boom occur. (A hang fire is when the pan powder goes off followed by the flintlock. The shot is possibly a half second or more after the pan power ignites.)  

We set up a short time to watch for deer and had no luck. Bob moved to a favorite log and I circled to move through thick crabapples and dogwoods.  I spotted the doe at around twenty yards. She was feeding, but all I could see were her back legs and head and neck. Suddenly, she raised her head and gawked directly at me. We eyeballed each other before she turned away not offering me a shot. At around thirty yards she turned and was broadside to me. However, much of her body was behind honeysuckle cover.

I readied the smoothbore and she moved. I knew one more step and I would not be seeing the deer. I hurried the shot and shot over her back. Bob saw her go past.

I was getting warm since the temps reached over fifty degrees and I was thinking of quitting early. (Bob had already left around 10:15.) I was almost to the jeep when I spotted a feeding doe. I stalked her waiting for an opening to shoot. At about thirty yards I shot and hit her brisket area. There was a tree in front. Did I graze the tree causing the ball to drop or did I just move ever so slightly? I need to check out the area to locate the tree. I was disgusted with myself. How did I fail such a shot? I spent just shy of two hours searching for the deer to no avail. Sign was almost non-existent. Once I determined to end the search I quit hunting for the day.                                                                                                      

I saw less squirrels this day and only thirteen deer. I did see three Woodcock and a few turkeys. I found five Sheepshead mushrooms, but didn’t pick any for I already had some in the freezer. I think my next hunt will be the flintlock rifle.

 

 

Hiding rabbit

 

 


 

Read Full Post »

This day turned out much better than a recent Saturday morning hike.  That hike was one where I was walking about an hour. I could hear either the rustling of leaves due to an oncoming breeze or the approaching onslaught of rain. The second option was the result and I knew it.

 

Black-Throated Blue Warbler

I closed in tight under some hemlock trees. Fifteen minutes later the rain was soaking me. I leaned tight against an oak and did not improve the   drenching. I made an executive decision and pranced off towards the jeep. I was drenched by the time I gained entrance into the jeep. I turned the heater on with the fan on full. Needless to say the flintlock shooting plans with my step-father, Bob were to be cancelled.

This week we planned the shoot again. The plans were similar for I was going to hike early and meet at the Cherry Run Gun, Rod and Reel Club to shoot some. Originally I wasn’t going to shoot for an ongoing eye issue I have been having. However, I gathered my flinter named, Old Jacob and decided I was shoot a few rounds.

Those of you who have been following my posts may remember of serious focusing issues while hunting deer last year. This past summer I talked with specialists concerning Lasik surgery. I was disappointed to learn I was not a candidate for the operation. I recently visited my eye doctor and have new glasses to be arriving this week…at least I am hoping. I am getting a special anti-reflective lens this time to help, hopefully, with my low-light seeing.

I enjoyed the morning time to reflect on my life and remember about my Uncle Carl Smail. I usually think about him as the hunting season comes along. He died in 1976 at 48 years of age while hunting waterfowl at Keystone Dam in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. I arrived at the dam to see the fireman bringing him out of the woods. A very bad time for me!

 

Bob with his Thompson-Center Flintlock

I was blessed to see several deer and about six turkeys on this jaunt.

I arrived to see Bob waiting. The shooting began. I need to say my shots would have all been fatal on a deer, but each shot took twenty to thirty

Cherry Run

seconds of careful sighting. The front sight and the rear sight are blurry and seeing the front sights position in regard to the rear sight is very difficult. A friend had me almost convinced to place peep sights on my flintlocks, but I have yet to make such a move. My flintlocks are custom-made firearms and are historically accurate. I can’t bear putting the sight on…yet!

 

 

 

Huge Sycamore

 

Skunk cabbage for next spring

 

 

Muskrat droppings

 

Read Full Post »

Land stage of the Red-Spotted Newt.

We sure had a lot of rain stemming from the movements of Tropical Storm Gordon. I can’t say exactly how many inches of water fell, but a local paper had over five inches of moisture on Armstrong County. The creek below the house rose over its banks  and as write this entry the yard is very soggy. THERE WILL BE NO MOWING THIS WEEK! On Monday I saw a gobbler behind the house and a ‘possum at night. I haven’t seen my rabbits since the rain began to fall. Did they float downstream?

 

Foggy river hillside

This morning was in the fifties, but the humidity must have been up for my time afield was damp. I was exploring additional lands within a local state game lands.

Monarch Caterpillar

I arrived fairly early once I saw the weather forecast. No rain they said. Well, I felt something wet falling several different times throughout the morning. The wetness must have been my imagination, I guess! Thick fog moved about during the morning whenever weather conditions were just right.

 

 

Old rusty gas shanty

The exploratory mission had me seeing some areas I had never been before. High hills, steep hills bordering the Allegheny River and some deep valleys. I saw lots of Autumn Olive  trees loaded with berries. Those berries will be relished by everything from small birds to bear in short order.

 

Vultures

One interesting discovery were five different Red-Spotted Newts along the rim of the steep hill. The newts are the land stage  and they will become aquatic later. I saw six or so deer throughout my morning jaunt. I only saw one squirrel. A Cooper’s Hawk fluttered from a high tree. At one site I saw vultures flying around, but five were settled in an old snag trying to keep dry enough for future flights.

Field of Goldenrods.

I saw a few Monarch Caterpillars on Milkweed stalks. I guess they survived the deluge well.

 

Fog over the Allegheny River

 

White Snakeroot

 

On a sad note, we must remember the terrible disaster that occurred this day seventeen years ago. The Twin Towers were struck by terrorists. The Pentagon was struck by terrorists and the saving of some planned attack by the terrorists due to the actions of very brave AMERICANS on Flight 93.  WE must never forget!!!!

Read Full Post »

Good Morning Fog

September 1st and I am heading out for a walk about a local game lands. I wanted to make a circle around the property to beat the coming humid conditions and rising temperatures.

I spotted a familiar puss as I entered into the game lands. I stopped the jeep to talk about twenty minutes to my friend, Frank “Muskie” Maus. he was walking the roadway. We caught up on a few subjects and we went our merry ways.                                                                    

The humidity was already making some early morning fog which made for my eye glasses to steam up quickly.  I noticed how the wildflower season is quickly coming to a close. the goldenrods will be in full bloom shortly and many Asters are in flower.  White Snakeroot and Boneset are in blossom, too. The frost season could come anytime now, but not next week. The weather people are talking of some ninety degree days  for next week. Also, the Yellow and Black garden Spiders always are late in the summer to build their intricate webs.

I saw two turkeys and a Gray squirrel on today’s venture.

Yellow and Black garden Spider

 

 

 

Boneset

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »