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Good morning

 

The morning was shaping up to be a nice, and it was. However, the nice morning didn’t equate to much gobbling activity. I heard four gobbles very far off, across a deep hollow and on the top of the next ridge. I believed the bird moved onto a huge field with hens early. A dense fog hung on until after eight o’clock.

I remained in place feeling certain I would hear some gobbling soon and closer. Those gobbles never happened. I remained within  about two acres until almost ten o’clock waiting for a lonesome tom to explode his positioning.

 

Shotgun is getting worried.

On the negative side of life, I have been dealing with asthma issues regularly. I cough so hard at times I feel I about to pass out. Sometimes I expel phlegm from my lungs. Allergies are beginning to cause disruptions in my life, as well. I do the best I can and still manage to climb very steep terrain as needed, I just do it in the best pace to keep from having attacks.

Later in the morning I heard about eight shots at the same place. this was in the area of where the early morning turkey was heading. My theory is someone shot at the bird in the field way out of range and crippled it. the extra shots were attempts to catch up to the bird.

Sightings include: Deer and doe with a little fawn; two hens in field, squirrels, Racoon,  Great Blue heron and many migrating birds.

Fire Pink

 

 

Scarlet Tanager

 

Golden Ragwort

Hunting turkeys has been challenging so far this spring. I am hearing and seeing birds everyday. However, every time I have moved to a roosting gobbler, so far, hens have been roosting either with them or really close. The norm has been for gobbler shut mouth as soon as they all get together on the ground. This morning, for instance, (May 12) I actually was about a hundred yards away. I could see the birds fly down and in a short time the woods became silent. The cool temperatures and windy conditions made for any time setting to turn into shivering bouts.

Yesterday, May 11, I set up close to a gobbler. At fly-down time I began to hear two hens and then a third. I could see the one hen roosting. The gobbler flew down and all went quiet. I did get a couple of gobbles out of him after he hit the ground until the hens met up with the old boy. I did see another gobbler with two hens at a field’s edge, but on a posted property line.  The one hen saw me and he followed them farther onto that property.

Jack-In-The-Pulpit

This morning of the 13th looked great. The sky was cloudless and the winds were not too bad, however the morning was cold. I truly expected the day to be a good hunting day. I heard one gobble so far away it was barely audible. I know from experience the birds always go to a field which is close to a homeowner’s place. Regardless, he only gobbled six, maybe eight times. Oh well, I thought, the time is only 5: 40 A.M. I expected hearing gobblers directly below me at any time, but the remaining day was gobble-less. I was disappointed. I hung around this site until eight o’clock before moving to an area I have been having fun with turkeys. I arrived on the hill top at 9 and waited around until a little after eleven. NO GOBBLING!

I did see some interesting sights. I saw a ‘coon and turkey eggs. Lots of warblers are in the area now that migrating season is upon us. As viewed above, I found a little fawn snuggled against a tree’s base.

Rain is being forecasted for the next several days. I don’t know how much hunting I will get in over those days.

Lots of photos below.

 

 

Turkey eggs

 

 

Black-throated Gray Warbler

 

Raccoon

 

 

Frost on False Hellebore

 

Bluejay

 

Black-throated Green Warbler

 

Toad eggs

 

Dogwood blossoms

 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

 

Orioles!

Baltimore Oriole

Since a little boy I have enjoyed seeing the Baltimore Orioles. They are brilliant in colors of orange and yellow contrasted with black and white.

I have some, presently, at the house feasting on my hummingbird feed. Another specie is present too. This bird is the Orchard oriole. they appear dark. The breast is a deep orange to almost brown. they are identified through an all back tail.

Some years ago while hunting gobbler with my father, I saw an oriole and did a loud whistling call that they do. A gobbler immediately answered. I repeated the call and the gobbler answered again. We set up to work the bird and my dad bagged the gobbler. I did a story about the hunt published in TURKEY CALL magazine. Turkey Call is the official magazine from the National Wild turkey Federation.

Orchard Oriole

 

Scarlet Tanager

Seems to me there was a movie made years ago with this title or close to those words. I felt like such a man this morning. The temperatures in the pre-dawn woods were in the mid twenty degree range. As I walked in the woods the full moon was shining brightly towards the west. Some clouds could be viewed, too. By 5:30 A.M. the entire sky was covered with clouds!

Ice on spider web.

A breeze would begin about the same time followed by increasing winds. I would witness sleet, snow, snow squalls and even blizzard conditions.

I moved up onto a plateau to listen for gobbles. I heard a Barred Owl. I didn’t try to sneak up onto the area where the turkeys have been often

Morel

roosting. The leaves were very crunchy due to the frost. Those birds were quiet, however, I heard a gobble in the opposite direction. He wasn’t very talkative. I moved in and realized about where he was roosting. I set up. His gobbling didn’t have much enthusiasm. After about half-an-hour I was shivering. I was happy to have put long underwear bottoms on, but I still became cold due to temps and inactivity.

I walked away and he was still on the roost at seven. I went for a warm-up walk to tour and call. While walking I was quick to notice the wilted Skunk Cabbage and Mayapples. Later, as the temperatures warmed some, they were almost all back to normal.

Eventually, I moved into the area I was initially hoping to hear birds. As I approached the top of the hill I saw a hen flying off the top and down the hollow. I figured my approach spooked her.

I found some morels before hearing hen talk. I couldn’t determine if the talk was a real hen or a hunter. I suspected a hunter may have been in place. I left and walked away in case the sounds were from a hunter.

I need to find the rest of this turkey!

I called after I went over the back side and heard a gobbler. I set up and he went quiet. Were the earlier sounds a real hen that went over to the bird? I didn’t know. Were the sounds from a hunter and had he heard the gobbler and tried to walk over? I didn’t know, but my instincts told me to skedaddle and I left to be on the safe side.

I was going to drive south and try again, but elected to call it a day. Snow was falling hard enough to actually cover the ground at times.

I, also, heard a Great-Horned Owl and saw a Raccoon.

 

Wilted Mayapples

 

SNOW!

 

Wild Geranium covered with snow.

 

Old tree with character

 

Wilted Skunk Cabbage

 

Lots of Hens!

I was in the hollow prior to five on this frosty morning. By the time the gobbler let his position known, I was already closing in. I settled down at about 100-125 yards from his roost. I elected to stay put for I was concerned of being spotted with a full moon still shining and the woods becoming lighter. His first gobble was about five-twenty.

In a little time, I could hear several toms in the same area. I surmised these were the jakes with the older gobbler. I called lightly and a hen began softly clucking close by. Oh no, I thought, here we go again with hens. As the morning moved along I would see five hens leave their roosting trees. One was in the tree next to me. Another was about twenty yards above me. the gobblers would go nuts when I called loudly until the hens and toms got together. All was silent!

Beautiful spring leaf-out.

I moved around trying to get an answer and decided to go to another site I have taken many birds in past hunts. I arrived close to the top around 9:30 when my cousin, Donnie called me. we chatted for about 15-20 minutes. he had heard eight toms, but they, too clammed up. The sun felt so good as I listened for late morning turkey activity . I fell asleep!

Time was moving fast towards the noon-time season quit. I went up and over the remaining hill calling to no avail. I moved down hill and called. I saw movement up ahead. It was a scratching and feeding hen. In seconds I saw the dark-body and full fan of a longboard gobbler. They were about the sixty yard mark. the time was one hour and fifteen minutes until quitting time. I watched for a time before using soft clucks and purrs. the hen would look and go back to feeding. The gobbler only had one thing on his mind and that was the hen. he circled her displaying his full fanned tail. I knw my only chance was to lure her towards me, but she didn’t care much about the strange hen back in the woods.

I tried different calls before  realizing the time was getting short. I gobbled several times. No interest! I began cutting loudly and I mustered three gobbles from the male. the hen was still unconcerned. I took some photos before easing backwards. I could have used the terrain to get a shot, but that is not my style. And besides it is unethical and illegal. I was just thrilled to have had this chance to watch these two birds doing what they do.

NOTE: Before I write the enties of the two hunts I am going to state some “skunk” events here at the house. I Walked out very early recently to get the paper. I turned to go back to the door and I froze. A beautiful skunk came walking across the yard and exited down under my deck near the basement door. I knew she had been staying there. Both, Monday and Tuesday mornings as I prepared to go to hunt, Mama Skunk was about eight feet from the door at her den site gathering leaves.  She seems very unconcerned of my presence.

Tufted Titmouse

THE HUNTS

Tuesday,  very early in the morning, I had slowly and quietly moved in Indian-like stealth along a spring seep gulley before angling upslope. I had an area goal in mind to set up for a gobbler. It was dark! I was hoping to be in position, or close to position, at the first gobble. I wasn’t concerned if I bumped off the jakes I don’t want them around anyway for they cause me grief twice already. I didn’t it, but he was farther up the hollow allowing for an advance towards the top. I didn’t feel safe to move into the goal area.

Once towards the top I began to look for a good position to call from. Multiflora Rose is abundant a causing for sighting issues. I began calling and gobbles erupted all over. The jakes were in the same roosting area with gobbler #1. A hen below me flew from the tree after yelping. Soon all was quiet. Soon, I maneuvered higher on the hill. I called and a gobbler was heard farther out the flat area. I readjusted my position again.

Garlic Mustard

Time was short when I realized this gobbler was coming in. I was so confident that I removed my shotgun strap to lesson any chance of it swaying.

Shagbark Hickory

Another gobble followed immediately by a second gobbler and all was silent. More time and the proof of this event was obvilous…Something happened and i believe the jakes may have come up and over scaring the gobbler. Any option could be a hen.

I left the area to come back later. I set up in the cool, breezy conditions only to hear three gobbles across the hollow. I moved to try to pinpoint him better and a hen began yelping. I tried to call her in, to no avail. I set an hour and decided to head home.

**********************************************************************************************************************************This morning, I awoke to rain. I debated to go hunting or not. Three times while in transit I pulled over to ponder what to do. Of course, i ended up giving the morning a try. I donned on my camo rain gear and up the hill I went. This was a different area to hunt.

As I moved up a hill I noticed the winds picking up. I must be nuts! On a went.

I listened for any gobbling, but didn’t hear anything. Between wind and rain hearing wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I began a tour of calling and listening. I later saw a hen. My plan was to transverse along a ridge to the end calling in various spots. I reached the end of the point around eight o’clock and headed to the jeep. I was wet in some areas and damp in others and slightly chilled.

Mayapple growing through a leaf

 

Apple b;ossom

 

Coltsfoot going to seed

 

 

Fate!

Longbeard

I was looking into the stars when I decided to try shocking a gobbler. It worked! The time was five o’clock. The bird was about half-a-mile away and in the same area where he was roosted on the first day of the gobbler season. I quickly crossed the road and headed to a spring seep to try to get close. I clucked to hear the gobbler farther up the hollow of approximately 100-120 yards away. However, before I could make a move a hen started yelping and cutting directly above me. I was trying to decide on my next move when a loud thunderous gobble exploded near her. I couldn’t move now. I was in an area with a lot of hazel, but still open ranges of thirty-five yards or more, but bordering a rather open woodlands. trying to move there would risk being spotted. I set down to see what would happen.

The farther gobbler left the roost and began moving away. He quit calling when the closer gobbler along with others began moving. I soon called in a hen. the group worked along that open border eventually moving across the spring seep and going onto the other side. They were jakes, but that one bird sure sounds like a mature bird. Prior to seven A.M. I noticed the winds becoming agitated. This would make hearing and calling more difficult.

  I moved uphill to try to get the first gobbler to answer…no deal! I circled the hollow and had the jakes gobbling again until I tried to move to a better spot and was caught. I was heading back to the other side of the road when I heard a gobbler. he was on a gasoline. I tried to move on him, but by the time I reached the area he had, apparently, returned far enough away to not hear me. Also, the area he went into was heavily posted. This has happened other times to me. They walk the line and turn and walk the line back.

I crossed the road and began moving and listening. I heard a gobble. I realized where he was located and moved in close. Suddenly, I heard a loud noise as of metal slamming together and something like a car door. I had never called yet and the tom went quiet. What was going on? I soon went to see if another hunter had driven up a close gasoline road. Nobody was there, but I check some kind of metal door at the well and it had banged in the wind.

I searched an open area and saw a hen feeding. I began to make a circle in the area trying to stir up a gobbler.  I came upslope in an area with lots of

Spring Beauty

young maples and called. I moved higher and spotted three jakes feeding where a lot of low leafed-out plants were present. While standing I clucked loudly and called two in towards me. I am sure the third one was there, but I just didn’t see him. They eventually spotted something and stood and stared at me trying to figure out  I was. I walked towards the jeep  planning on quitting whenever I reached the vehicle.

While moving I would see two more turkeys. I got a photo of one longboard, shown above. One of the issues I have is sometimes wishing I had my camera in hand instead of the shotgun. Sometimes it is the opposite. That doesn’t matter to me at all. Either way the day is a success.

As Saturday, I heard a Barred Owl. I saw a number of deer, too.

 

 

 

 

Young ferns

The first day of the 2020 Spring Gobbler Season was, indeed, an enjoyable morning afield. I hadn’t scouted at all the area I chose to hunt. I wasn’t sure of the amount of hunters I may encounter. Interestingly, I never heard  or saw a hunter and this was the first day.

The first gobble I heard occurred at 5:15 A.M. I know this for I struggled to view my watch in the darkness. I continued to go uphill and soon I was across a hollow from the gobbling bird. If this had not been the first day I would have moved closer to the bird, but I know sometimes another hunter who I have met on several times hunts the top of the hill.

After some time additional gobbling occurred near the first gobbler. I could hear other gobblers very far off in the distance.

Early sunshine and Spicebush density.

Eventually, I began moving towards the gobbler after he had left the roost. I moved cautiously knowing if I heard what might be a hunter’s calls, I would reverse the movement.  As I moved I quickly realized the gobbler was moving uphill towards the flat area. Much of this woodland area has Spicebush  growing  making for some dense cover, however, once one begins upslope the woods become much more open. I could see the rim of the flat and decided to call and see what the turkey would do next. Moving closer could end up with those unfortunate meetings. The tom loved my calling and was gobbling a lot. Suddenly, off to my left and hidden by the Spicebush density was explosive gobbling and close! Now I had a dilemma: where should I concentrate my viewing. I worked the eyes under the face mask.

The gobbling included young birds for sure, but one seemed very loud and deep. The bird above me was still gobbling well. In front of me and to my

Early Dogwood blossom

left I saw movements of turkeys. WOW, all five gobblers were Jakes or first year gobblers.  They worked uphill and, as soon as they, maneuvered up and over the hill’s top the other gobbler fell quiet. My theory is these five gobblers  may have been bossing the single two-year old bird around causing him to shrink away into the distant woods.

I worked to the top to try to stir up the single bird, but had the jakes gobbling again. Shortly, I could see the fan with the longer tail feathers.  I enjoyed the show, but  quit calling and they drifted out-of-site. I moved again and in time they five birds came in again. No adult birds! I decided to walk away and see if I could stir another bird at another area. I did find a few morels on the walk.

I carried some Ramp stalks and a few Virginia Bluebells with me and I planted these eat some varying lace hoping they survive, thrive and spread in future years.

Rabbit

Getting back to the hunt… I crossed the road and circled the hill not hearing any gobbling. Just before ten o’clock I called prior to entering a field. In seconds a hen appeared and took off on a run. I stepped ahead to see a nice longbearded gobbler. He had little concern for that blob at the field’s edge as he turned and followed the hen. As I was heading to go I saw two more jakes with a hen.

I called it a day for I needed to go to my mother’s and mow a steep a bank and trim.

I saw a total of nine deer, two squirrels, two rabbits and ten turkeys.

 

 

 

 

 

Morels

 

Virginia Bluebells

The following is from my Bible study class featuring Galatians 1.

Galatians 1 (Distortion of gospel of grace, and the gospel)

Paul, immediately, proclaimed in this letter to the gospel believers of Galatia, he is an APOSTLE NOT SELECTED BY OR THROUGH MAN BUT THROUGH JESUS CHRIST…WHOM GOD RAISED FROM THE DEAD (The Gospel is mentioned again!) Paul continued …Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us… (Paul has already alluded to the gospel twice in the introduction! The gospel of salvation can be found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4, and Romans 10: 9-10.)

Paul was in awe that the Gentile believers at the Galatia churches were so quickly forgetting about the Gospel of Grace doctrine he had preached to them. He is angry! Jewish, Jesus-believers were distorting Paul’s preached gospel with legalism, and Mosaic Law. The people were falling for their talks. (These Gentiles, recently out of paganism, no doubt, were very confused with all these new teachings from Paul followed by the Jesus-believing, but law-keeping, Jews.)

PAUL STATED IF A MAN OR ANGELS FROM HEAVEN PREACH ANOTHER GOSPEL OTHER THAN WHAT HE PREACHED THEY ARE ACCURSED!!! PAUL GOES ON TO DOUBLE CURSE THESE PEOPLE!! WOW!…This shows the severity and importance of the gospel message of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and other sites. What is that gospel that Paul preached? The gospel for salvation is located in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4, and Romans 10: 9-10, and elsewhere.

Here is the gospel of grace for salvation Paul always preached:

BELIEVING WITH FAITH THAT CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES, THAT HE WAS BURIED, AND THAT HE WAS RAISED ON THE THIRD DAY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES!

Paul exclaimed to these people that the GOSPEL HE PREACHED IS NOT OF MAN. PAUL WROTE HE DID NOT RECEIVE THE GOSPEL FROM MAN NOR WAS TAUGHT IT BY MAN, BUT THROUGH THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST!!!! Paul, as he often does, told of his former life of that zealous Jew with the power to arrest Jewish-Jesus believers, and even have them killed. (Remember in our Acts studies we had much discussion of Paul being a Pharisee with power.) Paul then goes on writing about how God had called him unto this service before he was born, and now revealed His son to him. (This was in part, Paul’s Damascus experience of Acts 9.)

IMPORTANT

Notice, Paul was “CHOSEN, and the RISEN CHRIST REVEALED” to him that he was to be a minister to the Gentiles. Paul DID NOT CONFER WITH MAN NOR GO TO THE APOSTLES AT JERUSALEM!! (One would think Paul would want to go the Apostles to seek what they knew about Jesus. God needed to alienate Paul from the kingdom doctrine of Peter to the Jews (Early ACTS) and reveal to him the Gospel of Grace. This gospel could not be until after Jesus died, and was raised to life, and after the Jews final rejection of accepting Christ as their Messiah at Stephen’s murder found  murder found in Acts 7!) Again God needed to alienate Paul from the apostle’s message of the kingdom. Paul went to Arabia, then after three years came back to Damascus. (Paul, no doubt, received the revelations from Christ while in Arabia, just as Moses received the law. It could take a long time to remove all the years of Jewish indoctrination, and come to understanding grace, and forgiveness over Law, especially after all the terrible things Paul had done.)

After three years Paul went to see Peter for 15 days. (At this stage Peter, no doubt, had great difficulty believing what this man Paul was saying. This is the reason for the Acts 10 visit with Cornelius. God was planting seeds into Peter’s thoughts …salvation would come to the Gentiles!) Paul, also, saw Jesus’ brother, James.

Paul expressed that he was not lying! Paul mentioned how the people marveled at his turnabout, and this glorified God, and the grace freely given! This converted Paul was still unknown to the Jewish-Jesus assemblies of Judea. However, they knew of his past against those Jewish believers of Jesus.

NOTE: Paul, after his Damascus experience, spent three years in Arabia. The original 12 apostles spent three years with Christ, Could this have any scriptural importance? I believe it does. People could NOT say that Paul only knew Christ for a short time.

Morel

The day was beautiful and I couldn’t get out and enjoy for many hours. I had called a doctor’s office in Pittsburgh with questions about an upcoming appointment for my step-father, Bob Miller’s cancer  issue. So, I remained close to the phone anticipating that call that never came.

I guess remaining home wasn’t all that bad. I finished a painting on spring wildflowers. I tinkered around the yard while Laurie remained near the phone.

Around five o’clock , after our meal, I believed the call wouldn’t be happening buy this time so I took off for an evening walk.

White Violet

I didn’t see a lot of wildlife, but I did see a deer up close and three rabbits, but I finally walked upon some tasty MORELS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early Spring Wildflowers- the painting.