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I was sneaking along looking for a nice doe when I noticed a little movement below me. I believed the movement was a turkey so I hurriedly prepared my camera. I began doing a little calling and heard an answer.

Within a short time I saw turkey s moving about well within shotgun range. However, it is NOT turkey season.

The calling began to intensify including gobbling as a flock of birds moved in on me. I mean they came under twelve yards from me. They were curious but not alarmed at the strange mass before them uttering turkey talk.

Needless to say I took a lot of photos during this encounter. Here are a few of the photos.

Out For Deer

I made a decision to go after deer this morning, at least until the temperatures climbed to seventy. Actually, Old Jacob, my fifty caliber seemed anxious to be shot.

I crossed a field in the very early moments of the day and saw a deer standing along the field’s edge giving me the eye. I settled against a pine to watch this field until the sun came up. I would be facing the eastern skyline and knew once that bright thing climbs above the tree line my vision becomes hampered some.

I would see five deer at too far distances before getting up to walk out. I hadn’t gone far when I noticed a deer feeding about 130 yards out. Two deer would eventually show up. As they fed towards my position I began to play the mind games about filling a tag or not.

In time, as the sun became higher the two deer walked and fed close to me. I decided not to shoot at this time but take photos.

They walked within fifteen to eighteen yards from me allowing for a few photos before they either, saw a shine of the camera or heard the click of the shutter for they bounded off.

I would see a total of twelve deer until I left at 11:45. I saw two bucks. The temps had become quite warm and I needed to mow anyway. I may go out for bear again tomorrow morning, but I need to quit no later than two o’clock for a commitment.

On a separate entry I will be placing photos of a flock of turkeys I called in this morning.

I was blessed with a beautiful sunrise this morning. I was happy to have been already on the top of the hill in time to see such splendor. This was my first morning out for the early muzzleloading season in Pennsylvania. I have tags to take either a Black Bear or antlerless Whitetail Deer.

The morning was young when a nice doe walked from the woods into a field of high grass. I stopped and maneuvered to exchange the muzzleloader for the camera. She stopped and looked away at first and eventually looked upon me with a penetrating stare. I took several shots before she ran away. The distance was around thirty-five yards. A shot would have been very easy, but I had made up my mind I wasn’t going to use my doe tag this morning. I would have fourteen deer sightings throughout the morning hours. I found one sizable pile of bear droppings, but they were not fresh.

Chipmunk with a tick!

A chipmunk moved to my right climbing a vine offering a photo. Once I saw the Chipmunk on the computer I noticed the Deer Tick on the cheek.

DAY 2: I tramped around until noon and quit for several reasons. I was getting warm. My knees were hurting enough and I was to play music at the God’s Choice event beginning at five. God’s Choice is a weekly event held at the local Kittanning Free Methodist Church. Individuals with special needs attend where they have a meal, sing and act and here a Bible story. they all love this evening every week. I reached the jeep at noon after being over the hills for five hours.

My second morning out was another beautiful morning. I chose a place, but some was disappointed. There was no food normally needed to hold bear. I checked two ridge areas with mature Oak trees and never found an acorn. There were no squirrels scampering about either. Most of the area had extremely abundant Autumn Olive trees around and not a single berry could be found and I covered much ground. I reached the jeep close to 11:00 deciding to head home.

I saw five deer.

Woodland Ramblings

I stopped at dawn to take the garbage down for my mother and Bob. They have been fighting colds and this carrying their garbage is a tradition I have done for a long time especially with their ages and Bob’s major health issue.. How can they manage to get so much garbage? … since I am down to about a half bag a week.

Because they are still coughing some, but improving, I elected to not go in and chance getting a cold. Early muzzleloading is next week for deer and bear. I would hate to be ill.

So I went a few miles from the homestead to walk about. Deer were moving well allowing for the sightings of two buck and twelve deer total. I caught one in her bed thinking she was concealed.

I saw two flocks of turkeys. I managed one quick shot in the darkened side of the shadow side of the hill . I am going to post it, but the quality is not present.

I saw some squirrels busy gathering mast crops which appear to have done very well this year. I saw three Wood Ducks, too.

I walked upon a resting groundhog. It was perched on a log pile. I whistled for the head to turn some allowing for a photo.

Dew-laden White Pine needles

Pileated Woodpecker

Over the last week I ventured out for some hikes. One such excursion lasted half a day. I hiked the southern section of my beloved Cherry Run hoping to see whatever ventured in front of my eyes.

Cherry Run

Heavy fog enveloped all areas very early, but once the sun gained some strength the heat quickly burned the fog through evaporation.

I try to hike along this area once a year if possible. The jaunt has become a tradition for me in a way, however, I usually enjoy walking this area with snow cover. The bottomland vegetation is often higher than my head so don’t expect any long range seeing.

I liked this calm water and strong reflections.

I would see a couple of deer at close yardages under such conditions. I saw two Belted Kingfishers acting interestingly. They were seemingly in some sort of territorial dispute and quite vocal. By the time I was back at the jeep I must confess I was getting very warm and these old knees hurt some.

One interesting find was a medium-sized Box Turtle. I usually see them during the spring, but I lucked out finding this one. I witnessed much erosion and deep muddy ruts along the bottomland. Four-wheel vehicles have cause much destruction along the vegetation. No wonder people post their lands.

Box Turtle

Another early walk occurred at a local state game lands. This, too, would be an interesting jaunt. I would see some deer, and squirrels.

If I would have been carrying my bow.

I was hearing the loud yaks of a Pileated Woodpecker and the big bird allowed several photos before vanishing among the trees. They are always a great sight to see. The cartoon character Woody Woodpecker was designed by an artist from the Pileated specie. I would have an opportunity to get some pics of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. These birds are not seen very often.

Immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Spicebush Berries

Red Squirrel trying to be invisible.

White-throated Sparrow

A vining plant is found in a few places here in Armstrong County. It is known as the Mile-A-Minute. This plant is a non-native and invasive specie. The plant is an annual meaning it grows from seeds during a summer season and freezes and dies back after frost time. The vines grow thick and heavy with the ability to kill native plants. These vines can grow twenty-five feet in one growing season.

The blue berries of the Mile-A-Minute.
Virginia Creeper, often called Five-leaf Ivy

The autumn season is showing off with hints of fall. Hickory nuts, Beech, Dogwood berries and acorns are falling to the ground or ripened on the tree. The mast seemed to produce well this season and the food sources are plentiful in the area where I recently walked.

Hickory nuts and hulls

On this day I saw around nine different deer and lots of squirrels. A noted the hints of autumn are all over. I loved the colors of the Virginia Creeper as the light shown through the colors. This plant doe not cause rashes as the Poison Ivy, although so many treat it as the same. I have seen this specie in gardening books for purchase.

Mockingbird

I lucked out with a curious Mockingbird. I waited patiently until the bird offered a clear photo op.

Dogwood berries

Autumn Gold-Bald eagle

I completed the painting, AUTUMN GOLD-BALD EAGLE in 2019. Earlier this year I learned the painting would be appearing on the Fall 2021 cover of the quarterly magazine called The CONSERVATION LANTERN. This magazine comes out through the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists and the Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation.

I am honored to see my art of their cover.

The original has a new home.

Trixie

Having a dog around the house again sure changes our lives. Trixie was owned by an elderly couple from the church we attended. They have had this Dachshund for around five years. They estimate the dog may be around eight years old.

Laurie with her good heart told the couple we would take care of the dog if ever the need would come upon them. She said we would take the dog before seeing it handed over to a dog orphanage place or such.

The couple earlier this year due to health reasons have ended up in a home. We obtained Trixie in early summer. We have had issues. Her legs gave her some trouble and we had to put her on steroids. Unfortunately, that causes the needs for nature calls frequently. Often times she didn’t get outside in time if you know what I mean. Also, we have been trying to train her to give us a communication of some sort so we know when she needs to go out. Sometimes this works sometimes it doesn’t, but things are improving with her.

Trixie loves to play and she has a lot of toys she continually drags out into the room. Another enjoyment for her is to bark at squirrels and chipmunks on the back deck, She’ll spend much time watching the steps and landings for these little pests to her. She barks at them until they are out of site.

Watching for critters on the deck.

Overall she is becoming a very good dog. She is a loving dog now wanting to be petted as her tail wags back and forth. She is a vocal dog when guests first arrive but she has proven to be a friendly dog with company.

The one negative we face now is we can not not go far and for any great time. We have no family who can take care of her anytime we might need to take a mini-trip. But that is alright with us especially with a world going off the deep end more daily. We three will be OK. We will give her the best life we can while she is here with us.

Trixie under her blanket.

Autumn is Official

Turtlehead

Last week I ventured to fish along the Allegheny River. Fishing was great for a little bit of time. The first three casts hooked two very nice Smallmouth Bass, however, after the second bass was caught the action stopped. I must have started fishing just as two rogue bass were patrolling for breakfast.

Eventually I began walking the shoreline casting and nothing happened. The fish stopped biting! was it something I said?

Purple Loosestrife




Cardinal Flower

At some point thoughts of fishing eased away and thoughts of recording some of the end-of summer wildflowers through photography. Now that the fall season has begun I realize the flowers will be subsiding quickly. A frost could occur anytime now.

Sneezeweed

As I record this entry the high is around 55 degrees. The sky is overcast. New thoughts are in my mind, now. I need to practice my latest firearm to see how it works. Hunting season for deer will be upon us quickly and I am not ready.

Exploring Some new Land

I took an early trip to northern Butler County to explore some more lands I had never been to hike. the land was State Game Lands 95 between Boyers and West Sunbury. The early darker hours had some very thick foggy areas that delayed my arrival plans, but that was not to bad. What delayed my arrival more than the early conditions was uncertainty as to where I needed to locate. I had some issues finding the parking areas at first, but eventually I unraveled the site.

I parked near a dam known as the Glades Dam Lake. This lake is a shallow site of about two and a half miles. The Pennsylvania Game Commission had signs placed all along the trail I was to walk. The area along the dam was a state propagation area and entry is always prohibited. I decided to go on and walk the trail to see what sights would be discovered.

After some time I entered a limestone road which led me to a parking and boat launching site. I crept through the treeline along this area and could get to the water’s edge. Here I saw some Wood Ducks and Great Blue Herons. I was blessed to watch an Osprey dive into the water and retrieve a fish. I failed to get any photographs.

Where I saw the Osprey.

The wetland vegetation was so dense that I could get through at very few sites. I fact at one grassy area I spotted a hen turkey and she, too struggled to find a place to easily get into the brush for safety. AT another area I saw four gobblers. I quickly got a few photos of running birds.

The Wood Ducks and Herons loved this spot.

I saw plenty of deer here and there including the buck shown above, he stopped and stood allowing some good photos.