Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

The first day of the 2022 Pennsylvania deer season found me heading home empty-handed. Yes, I saw some deer and even saw an illegal buck, but no shot materialized. I knew I had to be extra careful with my shots for I saw a small spike buck during the early muzzleloading season. I even had the hammer cocked and firearm aimed. Luckily my patience saw the four- or five-inch, pencil diameter spikes. I was watching for a racked buck but by the afternoon I would have taken a doe if the shot was a good one.

Today the third day of the season found me in my haunts willingly ready to shoot a doe. I would see twenty-three deer by the end of the hunt. One adult doe came extremely close to becoming hamburger. I spotted her while still hunting at about forty yards. She squatted to urinate as I anxiously tried to determine first if the deer was a big enough one for harvest and not the spike.

Unfortunately, she was on the other side of some downed limbs. I clicked the safe off of the rifle and slowly drifted to my right to open up the vital areas. As I raised the rifle she suddenly turned and saw me and jumped away.

Fox Squirrel, one of four I saw in two days.

Later I spotted a deer feeding ahead. I stalked the deer and spotted the deer at about forty-five yards. I could not tell with certainty of any head ornaments. The deer fed slowly away, and I circled around hoping to get ahead for a clear look. I walked to about twenty-eight yards and in those seconds, I still wasn’t sure enough to shoot. Hard to believe!

I was heading to watch a feeding area and saw three deer feeding. patience would be the answer in this hunt. One was a half-racked buck and a big deer. I lost sight of them due to terrain contours. A flock of swans flew over.

I waited behind some pine tree trunks watching the feeding area. Suddenly, a deer came into view just ahead. I prepared to shoot. The deer was about fifteen yards and must have winded me. The deer bolted in reverse and turned in front of me in open area. the deer stopped. the forty-three-yard shot was good. The deer collapsed about twenty-five yards.

The deer was actually a buck. The antlers were about one inch along and exposed. The weight was around 110 to 120 pounds.

Fortunately, the landowner told me I could drive across the field to get as close as I can to any harvested deer. That is great. This old pooper has some fears with long deer driving. I backed down a gas line and got to within thirty yards of the downed deer.

Bear claw marks on a Beech Tree.

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The weeklong 2022 muzzleloading season has come to a close. A properly licensed individual may hunt bear during this week, also. I usually refer to this week as the early flintlock season since I generally use my eighteenth-century style flintlock rifle. However, the Pennsylvania Game Commission allows percussion muzzleloaders, (Cap and ball) the modern in-line muzzleloaders as well as the flintlock rifle or smoothbores. As a senior I could use a modern center-fir rifle the last three days of the season. I still prefer my flinter.


The first day of October 15 had twelve deer observed including two bucks. This muzzleloading season only permits antlerless deer to be harvested. One small doe came past me at twelve steps, and I decided I wasn’t going to take a small deer. I took photos of this deer instead.

The first day as well as much of the season was windy with several being terribly windy. In fact, I heard a large tree cracking and the thud after it succumbed to the conditions.

I had to get ready to play guitar with a band at Ford Cliff.


I decide to go to a state game lands to try my hand at bear hunting on this day. I still-hunted at three locations but never saw a bear. I did see two deer. I could have shot the one at about thirty yards, but I could not see the animal’s head. remember I had to shoot only antlerless deer.

This very windy day howled through the trees. I heard some loud cracking of a falling tree. The sounds were not far ahead. As I followed the occasional cracking, I soon located a tree. The tree was leaning at about 75 degrees with the limbs entangled with neighboring trees. Every few seconds it would crack until the support trees could no longer bear the weight allowing the tree to crash. That was an interesting observation. I walked upon a flock of seven gobblers allowing for a few photos as they fed in the high grasses. I heard a Screech Owl in the dark hours. I became entangled in a very thick timbered area. That takes the fun out of hunting as each step allows for briars to dig into one’s flesh. I left early enough to prepare to do acoustic music at the Kittanning Free Methodist Church. An event is held there twice a month known as God’s Choice for those of special needs.

A bear could be bedded ten feet away and be completely hid.


I sat up watching a field in the dark and windy morning. I would see one deer in the distance. I found myself very tired and decided this was going to be a short morning. I don’t sleep well usually. I still hunted my way back to the jeep seeing a Fisher twice. I only wished I could have gotten a photo. I heard a Great-horned Owl.

I went home and napped for company was coming.


I stopped in the morning to take care of my mother’s garbage and enjoy breakfast. I did sneak around near to the homestead seeing two deer including one buck. I left early enough to prepare for my Thursday evening Bible study.


This was another day to hunt bear and I went to State Game Lands 304 to still hunt. I would see seven deer this morning and a flock of turkeys two times. I walked right up on them the first time. I saw three pheasants.


This was the last day to hunt, and the temperatures were to reach into the seventies. I knew I would be quitting by noon for I prefer to not hunt in such temps. I stationed myself in the dark hours to wait.

I spotted a deer’s back and it appeared to be a doe. I positioned the rifle and as the deer approached, I thought I saw antler. I allowed the deer to come closer and I was correct for this deer was a spike buck, the spikes were about six inches long. That would be the only deer observed this morning. I walked off to where the spike came past, and it was eight steps.

I heard a Barred Owl.

Hunting deer by my preferred method known as still hunting can be very difficult during this early season. Multiflora Rose, Green Briars, our native briars and Spicebush form a dense canopy cancelling out any deer clarity.

Old Jacob, my fifty-caliber flintlock.

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The Deer Are Moving!

Yes, one thing I noticed over the last two morning hikes is the fact of moving deer. I saw four buck and many doe and fawns. I lost count. The velvet has been removed and the antlers are strong ready to face the rigors of this upcoming rutting season. I haven’t seen any buck scrapes yet.

Does and her fawns are fattening up and will be soon finding the need to run from aggression in the males. Truth be known I suspect this is already happening but will increase in intensity very soon.

The deer all have their winter hair.

I managed a few photos of deer over these last two mornings.

Full speed ahead!

White Snakeroot

Garden Spider on a dewy web out for a quick breakfast.


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Jack-in -the- Pulpit berries

I have managed to get in some walking despite encountering many demands on my being. A few photos from a couple of morning hikes are within this entry.

I have been playing lead guitar at a church for a few months now. The regular player developed an illness to be found out of his bladder cancer. he is taking treatments and has had some setbacks with infections and such. I am hoping Ray gets well enough to resume his position soon. Some Monday evenings I pay guitar at an event known as God’s Choice. This event is catered towards those with various handicaps. It is a rewarding venture to see them smile and sing along. Thursday evening, I have a Bible study class with ten to fourteen individuals interested in studying the Word. Other issues play a part in my life with serious health issues within the family.

Doe with her winter coat.

Button Bush Seed Pods

Monarch Butterfly

Spotted Jewelweed


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I can honestly state I would have never guessed what encounter I would see this morning. I had moved down through the woods to a stream and when I was about the cross over a log, I immediately saw the owls. One was a Barred Owl and the other was a Great-horned Owl of the year.

I do not know what had transpired prior to my discovery but I believe the Barred Owl may have attacked the Great-horned Owl, perhaps believing a meal could be had. Mu approach closer allowed for the Barred Owl to begin to move away through short flights. I managed a number of photos.

Barred owl…notice the injury around the eye.
The Great-horned Owl by some rocks below some tree roots.

Close-up of the Great-horned Owl.

In time I had circled back around, and the Great-horned Owl was still in the area. The Barred Owl had left. The Great-horned Owl probably had some injuries, but I could not see anything obvious except ruffled feathers. I do hope the bird survives. This event brings about a reality of the natural world and that is the cruelty of nature.

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A Walk at Crooked Creek

Crooked Creek at the Mud Flats

I ventured out for some wildlife snooping at Crooked Creek State Park in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. One never knows what one might see on these lands. Today was no different.

I would see two fawns and a couple of adult deer. I saw a flock of young turkeys with their mother. I had not seen many poults this season thus far, so I was elated to see a flock of maybe ten birds.

As I walked the shoreline, I would see two eagles chasing each other. The birds were too far for a photo. I was setting on a log watching the skies and the water surface. I could see a nice-size flock of Canada Geese up and around what has been called the Mud Flats. This ground area on the lake has been increasing in very recent years. There is now vegetation growing on it. A couple of years ago I attempted to walk over onto this land and at one point sank in the mud up to my groin area. I placed a blog entry on that experience. I thought someone would find my white-bleached bones, but I managed to get out.

Boat launching area
Belted Kingfisher

Othe species of interest included a couple of Kingfishers. I managed a few shots. I would walk onto a flock of Cedar waxwings. These birds are nomadic and move about in small flocks. If you find some look quick for tomorrow, they may be moved to somewhere else. However, they are an attractive little bird. They get their name, in part, for a brilliant red area on the wing that looks like wax. I saw a Red-shouldered Hawk.

Cedar Waxwing.

One of many Killdeers along the water.

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I believe this may be a species known as the Grasshopper Sparrow.

It doesn’t take long to see the natural world moving quickly towards the autumn season. As a wildflower enthusiast I have learned to tell seasons by the blooms of various species of wildflowers. The end of the season will be upon us before one knows it. Currently the Ironweed with the brilliant purples is in bloom as the Goldenrods are presently emerging into their bright yellow hues. The various Asters will be blooming soon.


Bull Thistle

I was about three feet before possibly stepping too close to this Bald-faced Hornet nest. It, probably, would not have gone well for me!

Not one hundred percent sure of this specie of Dragonfly, but it is a beaut!

I noticed this Black Snake emerging from my landscaping this afternoon. I ran for the camera. In the couple of minutes, it took to retrieve the camera the snake had ventured out onto the yard. I fell to my belly to snap photos. Most were blurred too much for the snake was moving as I tried to keep up.

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Lots of Deer!

The photos above were of two deer. I was sneaking along and saw the orange-red color among the underbrush. I knew immediately I was seeing two deer. As they fed with their heads down, I would move until I reached about thirty yards or so. I positioned with camera aiming towards an opening. The plan worked flawlessly and the two edged out into the opening allowing for some photos. It wasn’t long before the lead deer became suspicious just prior to a snort and a run.

I saw the fawn first, but I saw the corn leaves moving violently to the left. Mama doe emerged followed by a second fawn.

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Bald Eagle

I had an errand to run this morning, so I incorporated some waterways walking very early. There was a light fog over the Allegheny River as I began exploring the banks for anything of interest. My plan was to take photos of wildflowers. I will save those photos for a separate entry.

I had, later, moved to another hike along Buffalo Creek. I had an errand at the feed store. As the humidity was climbing with the temperatures, I began my walk along the road back to the jeep when I could hear a vehicle slowing down behind me. The woman stopped. She asked me if I got any photos of it? I was puzzled at first. She thought I was a fellow named Mark. I told her my name and she informed me a friend had spotted a Bald Eagle. (The it.) She thought I was a fellow named, Mark. Her friend had mentioned of another fellow named Mark with a camera. She told me of a Bald eagle sighting just ahead and said jump in.

In a couple of moments, we were at the area where the Bald Eagle had been seen. I quickly spotted the big bird and expressed to her of seeing the eagle. The photos here are a few pics I managed to get before the bird flew off. Thank you, Connie, for stopping and letting me know of this magnificent bird.

Notice the talons below the limb.

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Not a wildflower.

The Teasel is beginning to bloom.

The humidity was up, but the moisture content in the air is supposed to drop later today. I dressed for the early weather-related timeframe. I had my tick-resistant clothing, rubber boots for the dew-laden grass and a light flannel short to help thwart any insect issues.


I always find wildflower stages interesting. I believe every two-weeks one will observe the next stage of wildflower blooms. They come and go rather fast. There were a lot of blue-colored species showing off their vibrant color during this morning’s adventure.

I would see three doe this morning, but only managed photos of one in the creek. I saw seven turkeys, including only one poult, at three different areas. The lack of poult visuals is concerning.

Blue Vervain

Downy Skullcap

Crane Fly

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