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Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

 

Piebald doe

I spent some time this past week looking for a legal buck. Unnaturally warm weather made me to not hunt full days, but I still managed to be out three mornings.I saw a number of does and one legal buck, but I didn’t shoot. The buck sported a legal antler on one side and a small spike on the other side. The monster walked to about twenty feet of me before seeing my shape. I jumped at him and off he went only to stop at about another twenty yards. he then proceeded to walk back towards me, but a little lower. The buck didn’t identify me and eventually walked up the hollow.   

Another interesting time afield was when a doe bedded down about thirty yards from me. I watched another deer higher on the slope, but never identified it. The deer took off in a run as I watched a coyote walk  close to where the deer was hiding.  I, also, saw a Red fox this day.

I had three does fed close to me one day. However, when I felt the wind change on the back of my neck, I immediately saw the one doe stick it’s head high and nose higher. In short order, they all went down over snorting all the way.

I walked upon one bedded doe and managed a few pics before she unnerved.

This morning a bagged a button buck. venison will feed me for a time.

Other things that I enjoyed these days out were the hooting of a couple of Great-Horned Owls and gobbling turkeys. I saw a piebald doe and she stood still  long enough for some photo ops.

 

Back yard Wednesday night

 

Back yard on Wednesday night

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Bear damage

 

  Monday, November 20, I headed to the woods of Armstrong County to seek out a Black Bear. The first day, November 18th was a wash out. I  “schmartly” decided to not go out and be wet. The weather people were calling for windy conditions, also. This day would be different. Although dark I could see a “skiff” of snow as I approached my destination.

I pulled in only to see a younger fellow almost ready to head up the game land’s road to his hunting spot. We spoke briefly and off he went. I followed shortly afterwards. I had planned to still hunt and old clear cut, but after I searched out tracks at a Y in the trail I noticed  some footprints in the sandy area. Yes, he was going to the top where I had planned, so I altered my direction. As stated little snow was present. There was enough to help see, but not enough to effectively track and bear, if I would happen to see a track somewhere. In fact, much of the snow would be melted by 9:30 A.M. except deep hollows and northern exposed hills.

Rough terrain

 

I moved quickly along food plots trying to cut any tracks before the snow was melted. None were found. Two, separate, small game hunters were observed hunting. I actually saw one bag a pheasant. I decide to cross the main road and hunt the other side of the game lands.

I journeyed the game lands area moving through recent clear cuts. The brush and briars are unbelievable. I come here often knowing this is prime bear habitat, but finding one is almost nil and  getting a shot probably almost as impossible, yet I try to beat the odds. Many bear would hold tight in such habitat allowing the hunter to walk past.

 

My good friend, Carl Nulph. Always pleasant and always happy.

Eventually, I moved up and over a high wall only to see an old friend, Carl Nulph. He was checking trail cams for wildlife activity. We enjoyed our conversation for   about half an hour. Carl and I have been friends for many years and I always cherish the time we see each other to chat. In fact, we met last year on this very same hill top. I thought about putting him out of his misery, but elected to maintain a clean rifle. Hi Linda!                                                            

I circled around the game land’s edge only to be surprised to see many acres of standing corn. I said to myself, “Self, that is where the bear will be at.”  Unfortunately, I didn’t have permission to hunt the property. I began a circle around the back side of the hill. My decision was to move along slowly and whenever I reached the jeep I would call it a day. That time was 2:30.

The only signs of bear I had found in the area were utility pole damage and one pile of scat.  I saw two buck and one doe. I saw and heard several flocks of swans and a Red-tail Hawk and a Cooper’s hawk. I didn’t see any squirrels. I wondered how the recent weather may have affected the wildlife. The day became quite windy  later on. Enough wind was present to cause some chapping of my lips. Oh, the life of a hunter. Today, as I type, the weather is warming to close sixty degrees. I decided  to not hunt.  Since I am a lone hunter I am always concerned of getting a bear. The work of getting a bear out of the woods in warm weather is a task I don’t enjoy. Since, I would be eating  the bear I don’t want to have any spoiling of meat. It took much time to remove a bear I harvested in the past.

 

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Immature eagle

 Yes, the night was long since the valleys darkened early and the fact I sleep on average six to six and a half hours a night.  I entered the tent at dusk and began to write down some thoughts and read. I discovered, as I always do when I read, that I was becoming tired. I dozed off only to wake up after eight o’clock.

I exited the tent and added more wood to the four hour fire. It wasn’t long the flames were rising high again.  I had some summer sausage and would enjoy a burnt one for a late supper. After I ate I entered the tent again to try for some sleep. I had two sleeping bags and extra clothing so I was quite warm in the cold temperatures.

The next time I woke up the side of the tent was lightened up. The moon had finally risen over the top of the mountain across the Sinnemahoning Creek. I went outside to see better. The woods was bright and the stars shined bright in the clear and crisp conditions. It was beautiful! The clouds within a few hours had dissipated. Frost was going to be the outcome.

I laid in the tent listening to the peacefulness. I could hear the fast moving waters of the creek and the cracking fire. At one point I heard a Barred Owl and not very far off. Towards morning I heard a Great-Horned Owl hooting up the valley.

Around four in the morning I woke up to an extremely dry throat and mouth and a thickening sensation . The cold weather must have activated my   sinus issues. I drank some carbonated pop to lesson this issue. Since I had been laying fairly prone, too. I went to sleep the in the jeep with a slight incline. Sleep didn’t come well for I was wide awake. Eventually, I began packing up my things. At 6:30 A.M. I actually began to walk to await the dawn. I would walk for a few hours along the bottomlands parallel to the Sinnemahoning Creek.

The deer were moving and I saw several bucks and some does.

A frosty fog covered the mountain tops. the trees across the creek had that gray-white frost covering them.

The bottomlands had plenty of Sycamore trees to contrast the White Pines. Occasionally, the brilliant reds of Winterberries would be contrasting everything.

Midmorning found me close to the dam again. This was where I saw the eagle yesterday. I was bird-watching this time. I wasn’t disappointed. I saw a flock of Mergansers again busily diving into the cold waters searching for breakfast. Mallards were quacking and swimming on the opposite side. the drakes were brilliant with their green heads. A small flock of Canada geese landed and would, for some reason, fly downstream past me.

Two mature Bald Eagles flew to my side of the dam. They were always outside of good camera range. They landed for a time only to fly back across the dam. before I left I saw an immature Bald Eagle  fly over close enough for some shots. Other birdlife included: Belted Kingfisher; Bluebirds; Crows; Ravens and a Killdeer. I hated to leave, but I had a schedule to keep so I continued on towards Medix Run area to do an afternoon hike before heading home.

I saw more deer and elk as I moved along. I drove up along Dents Run since I hadn’t been there for sometime. Soon I would be hiking near Medix Run.

Raven

 

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Refreshing Weather

 

We have had some very hot temperatures as of late and no rain! My wildflowers have dried up and the grass has a gray-green look from lack of moisture. This morning, however, was a  refreshing reminder of what the fall season should feel like. Comfortable! With that in mind I headed early to the woods to see what I could see and, especially, find some Sheepshead Mushrooms.  Another common name is “Hen Of The Woods” since someone believed this mushroom resembles a hen on her nest.

Future meals

The few hours I was out found some disappointment when I could only find one sheepshead. I began wondering if the weather has played a role on their production this year. Maybe, with some rain they will grow profusely. I have found them even into November so I am still hopeful. I harvested the one ‘room I discovered and later cut it up and washed the bugs out of the hidden crevices.

Dogwood berries

  I saw a lot of squirrels this day, both in the woods and roads. I can say the same for deer and turkeys. I saw approximately 12 deer. Three were identified as buck, but none appeared legal for the hunting seasons. Only one presented any good photo ops.

Allegheny River

Turkeys were the same. I saw two flocks. One was in a field behind some houses as I was driving home. The other flock yielded about 18-22 birds. A humorous event occurred with two of the birds. The two young turkeys were on a dead limb. I managed two photos when the limb snapped. The birds fell a foot or so before remembering they had wings and soared off.

I have fished a couple of morning before the heat became intense. I fished a game land pond where I caught a Carp and Bullhead Catfish. the river yielded a Smallmouth Bass. A second fish pulled hard and I set the hook. I felt weight and then the line was broken or cut. the fish felt big!

This guy thinks he is a fisherman!

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A Day At The Zoo!

                                                                                             

The Pittsburgh & PPG Aquarium was a delight on our recent visit. Surprisingly, the crowd was low in numbers and that alone made our time special.

I hadn’t been to the zoo for a couple of years and learned of new exhibits which we enjoyed. Also, one elephant gave us quite a show as the beast entered the water area and began submerging itself and throwing water about.

                                                      

  See: http://www.pittsburghzoo.org for more information on the zoo and aquarium.

 

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    I admit I didn’t make the hike as early as wanted. I had to “slap” on some paint on a new painting  just to get the direction in order. Also, I needed to  record a track on a CD I have been working on.

Water Snake

I was trying to make an important decision, as well. Should I go carp fishing along with a hike? Or should I just go on an “explorative” hike?  I decided to explore and take photos. After all North Korea just may blast a nuke into Pittsburgh and I should check out as many places as I can.

Cardinal FLower

 

 

Wood Turtle

I needed to drop off a Cd at a friend’s home so the decision to hike and explore Patterson Run was made since the drop off home would be in route to this

Damselfly

beautiful stream.

Patterson Run is an approved trout stream in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. I have hiked along some northern sections of the stream at various times, but I never explored the lower section. That would be my goal!

Bumblebee on Blue Vervain

I walked down over a hill to the stream and began to walk with the flow of water searching for photo opportunities and wildlife. And yes the stream is beautiful! I had on boots that went to mid-calf and much of the time I could find a route to avoid wet feet. Several times I needed to go over the embankment to circle deeper areas. I saw only one trout. The water was low for the most part and deeper holes were scarce.  The water was clear and only the deeper holes failed to see bottom, well.

I saw two deer on the walk. One fawn was bedded down in stream-side vegetation and erupted only when I was about twelve feet from the bed. A second deer was wading the creek, but tree limbs avoided any chance for a pic. I would see two hen turkeys with poults. Just how many poults is anybody’s guess since all I could see of them was moving vegetation.

I located two different Wood Turtles. One I removed from the creek bottom and waited for the inquisitive critter to emerge from the shell and head back to the creek. The second turtle was walking along the sandy ground. two handsome water Snakes were viewed on limbs prior to the falls into the water.

I saw a lot of Cardinal Flowers growing along the water course. This flower grows deep along creeks and rivers, but I didn’t see any more than ten feet from the water’s edge. That seems to be the norm from past encounters. I saw a lot of Damselflies fluttering along the vegetation. the actual name for this species is Ebony Jewelwing.

On another hike earlier this week I saw five deer, three of the deer were buck with nice racks!

Wood Turtle

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Indian Pipe

The weather was markedly less humid and cooler than recent days. I gathered up my gear and headed to State game Lands 105 in

Fritillary

northern Armstrong County. This is property maintained by the Pennsylvania game Commission.

I am always hopeful of seeing bear, but I failed to see anything resembling a bear on this jaunt. I had two exceptions. I walked into two separate baby Porcupines. Maybe with a good imagination one could see a slight resemblance to a bear…maybe??? They have black hair on their bodies don’t they?                                                                       

The first Porcupine I walked on was a small little feller. I would have liked to have held and petted this critter, but my smarts told me otherwise.  I was within a couple of feet of this little guy and he instinctively would turn his backside towards me. This is a defensive posture. I walked on through the woods and heard and saw another young Porcupine. This one was slightly larger than the earlier one. This Porky, also, had more white coloring on the body. This one didn’t stay put and began climbing a tree for safety!  

I saw five different bucks on this hike. two sported sizable racks and with a couple of months of growth yet to happen. I saw a few doe as well. I impinge fawns were nearby, but dense grasses and such would not allow any sightings of those little ones. I saw three young gobblers moving across a clearing.

Plenty of butterflies were dancing through the air waves. I managed a few photos of them.

 

Tiger Swallowtail

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