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The day began with much colder temperatures than we usually expect at this time. I had a number of projects to deal with, but I decided to attack a Black Bear shoulder bone with a pen and ink illustration.

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Mid-morning  produced a lot of Crow cawing outside the house. I checked the source of the commotion to see a Red-tail Hawk setting in the tree above the site where I placed my deer rib cage. The Crows have been feasting and they didn’t appreciate the intruder so close to their food source.

I went out to try to get a photo but the hawk had flown the coup. However, I managed to get a Cardinal among some yellow oak leaves.

 

Got ‘Er Done!

 

I actually pondered about hunting this morning. It was windy and I do not prefer to hunt on such days, but I always seem to end up going out to pursue those bronzed-back beauties. I guess it is an obsession of mine.

The temperatures were in the twenties this morning. A hint of snow covered the forest floor. I crossed a flat and dropped down the slope and began calling as I walked.  I had went about half a mile when I saw turkeys out ahead at approximately sixty yards or so. The race was on as I moved as fast as I could to bust the flock up.  I saw birds moving in three directions. I continued through and hiked two birds from the trees. The hunt was on!

  I set up and called periodically any time the wind subsided a little. A half an hour later I was getting cold, but I was determined to wait these birds out. I estimated ten to twelve birds but in the commotion I couldn’t get an accurate count.

I heard rapid yelping behind me and I readjusted my setting position. I continued calling and I heard a second bird to my left. Soon I could see the darkened body moving among the brush and Mountain Laurel. At twenty-two steps the Remington talked in a loud voice and a young gobbler was down. I uttered some thankful words of prayer.

The next phase is to clean the turkey. Any takers on this job? I didn’t think so!

 

Turkeys Galore!

Notice the steep sides. Charging downhill in these conditions may end up with bone breakage for me.

Early on the second morning of the 2019 fall turkey season I heard an answer to my calls. Unfortunately, the answer was clear across a steep hollow. I knew I needed to get over to the side as quick as possible. However, I don’t do as well as I used to with going down hills and especially steep ones. I circled below and worked up the hill towards where the answering turkey came from.  As I moved along I could see turkeys feeding in a field. I eased back and set up hoping they may follow the field’s edge presenting a shot.

Things seldom go as one hopes with turkey season.  The flock exited the field back into the open woods to my left. They began answering my calls and I could hear them walking in the leaves! The bad luck factor was present. Between the birds and myself was a thick small gulley chocked with alders, spicebush, briars and vines. There would be one area where a shot could be had and the birds would stop at the brush’s edge and eventually walked away.

Buck rub

I moved into the field and started into the woods for a bust up only to find NO TURKEYS.  I moved around and didn’t find a single bird. Later I went up the hollow and moved low. I had answers ro my calls. The turkeys were either in the steepest part of the hollow and just up a little on the opposite side. WE carried on communications for fifteen or so minutes. I stopped calling and shortly, thereafter, the birds quit, too. About forty minutes later I found them about a hundred or so yards farther down this hollow. Again, we talked for a time and all would go silent. Both of these times the birds were not all that far, but they refused to move to my calling. And, unfortunately, the steepness of these slopes thwarted any attempts for me to charge down a hill to break them up.

I circled around to their side and the turkeys were gone. Eventually I went up and over onto the flats. I saw the flock of 12-18 birds about a hundred and twenty yards away. I moved as fast as I could only to watch them stay together and quickly move into posted property. I felt defeated. All of the above happened during a four hour time zone. I worked around and left the woods by two o’clock, tired and knees a hurting’.

This morning was a wet hunt. (November 5) I went to another area where I had seen turkeys and sign recently. The rain and wind made hearing very difficult.

I eased out to a cornfield’s edge and could see some turkeys in the corn. (The corn wasn’t high.) I circled around to try to call them. I saw some turkeys moving away from my right side. they didn’t seem to care about my calling. Perhaps they had seen me.

I circled again with some vegetation in my favor and soon saw them ahead at about a hundred yards. I believe there were, at least, fifteen birds in this flock.  I moved as quick as I could and hollered a couple of times, but the birds seemed to stay together. I decided to set and call loudly in case a couple of stragglers were close by. All I got was soaked even more and the shivers. Forty-five minutes later I was cold and wet and decided to head towards the jeep.

Later, I spotted a gobbler’s head at about 35 yards. I charged figuring a flock was on the back side of this terrain. Only one gobbler was present and I watched him move away.

Time to regroup for another time. I was very wet and cold and needed to get warmed-up quick.

I saw, these last two hunts, a lot of deer including a very nice buck. I saw a lot of squirrels, both gray and fox squirrels.

One Royal Mess Up

Young Bedded Doe

The cold frosty early morning felt great as I trekked up the slope towards a listening point for turkeys. I had not scouted for turkeys so I was going to a vantage point hoping to hear some roosted birds. This first day of the 20191 fall turkey season in Pennsylvania would be a short one. My step-father’s brother and family were to be at my homestead to visit around ten o’clock. I needed to quit by ten and move on to be part of the family get together. They were coming in from Virginia.

I was almost to the crest of the hill when I heard the hooting of a Barred Owl in the distance. I stopped and listened until the bird went to bed. Later I would see a barred owl flying from a tree. Interestingly, while I listened to the owl I could hear something walking in the frost-laden leaves. Soon I could see the form of a deer coming towards me. Although the morning was still rather dark I could see a sizable rack at times. the buck stopped approximately eighteen yards from me before sensing my presence. I saw a few unidentified deer and another buck with, maybe, two inch spikes.

Around nine o’clock after calling and moving about fifty yards I heard the sounds of a turkey. Real bird? Another hunter? I searched for a position and quickly settled in against a White Pine tree. Another dead snag was about three feet from the tree. I called and decided I should move for this snag could be an issue. However, before I had taken that move an adult gobbler was spotted out ahead. The gobbler stepped behind a tree and I placed the shotgun onto a limb from that snag. the gobbler was moving perfect and was soon within my range. I couldn’t get a shot for the bird always seemed to be blocked with tree trunks. T

Then it happened the gobbler turned left. (My right) I couldn’t get the gun into position and the gobbler was wide open at about twenty yards. The gobbler began to be suspicious. His actions told me he was nervous. I did something at that time I never do. Why? I tried to slowly move the gun out of that snag. the gobbler started moving away and I removed the Remington and tried to align for a shot while being in an awkward position. I can still see the gun NOT being on target when the boom occurred. The gobbler was out of effective range by this time anyway and I was frustrated at my stupidity. I think in all my years of hunting I have only messed up on three or four turkeys. This shot should not have happened.

I returned to the jeep close to ten and changed my pants and shoes and enjoyed time at home with my family and Bob’s family. This afternoon we all got together for a meal at a lock restaurant. It was sad to see the four begin to head off back to Virginia soon.

A frost along the edge of this oak leaf.

Autumn Time Alone

Cowanshannock Creek

The family spent the last two days at the hospital talking with various doctors. Both days talked of my step-father’s cancer (Bob Miller) issues and what will, most likely, be the imminent future for him. We were told the cancer is very aggressive and moving fast. No cure is possible. Bob’s life expectancy is in months. This was not the news we had hoped for, but I expected that to be the case. I have tried to remain busy to not dwell on things as often.

  Lots of rain is expected later this evening. My original plans were to fish the Allegheny River. I set the minnow trap at six in the morning and at seven thirty I was dismayed to see the majority of those minnows to be  within the five and six inch range. I was planning on light tackle and catching some bass and catfish. I dumped the minnows back into the creek and pondered on purchasing some locally. I walked past a deck I have been building and decided to forfeit the fishing and go and get wood to complete the final landing of the deck which I did.

Prior to eleven o’clock I checked the radar and elected to hike along Cowanshannock Creek to see the beauty of the autumn foliage. I walked, where ever I could , along the creek’s edge snapping photos everywhere. This waterways has many boulders and hemlocks and rhododendrons. Add beech and maple and the contrast was breathtaking. I was forced to gather a stck as a third leg for the many rocks where slippery for this old man with painful knees.

The several hours walking along helped clear my mind for a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Redemption Shot!

Success!

I watched the four deer feed along for about a half an hour. They continued moving in my general direction. Would my redemption shot happen?

Just prior to the shot, two young deer appeared to my left. They were about thirty yards away, but limbs and vegetation blocked my view some so I held off. I did not want to miss or wound any deer. I needed a clean humane kill to boost my confidence. Remember all the blunders from the last two years due to sighting issues and difficulties aligning the sights.

Cherry Run

The lead deer cleared itself from the brush and I cocked the hammer. However, the second deer moved behind the lead deer. A shot at this range of approximately twenty yards would see two deer down. I moved my head to look at the right side of two trees in front of me. The other deer was closer now and open. I estimated that deer was around forty yards.

I maneuvered Old Jacob around and aligned the new peep sights onto the front shoulder. Even now I was apprehensive to shoot! I remember thinking to myself it is now or never and BOOM!

The recoil and smoke hid the deer for a second, but I saw the doe running downslope. The deer was obviously hit.  I reloaded while wondering what  happened. I was hoping for an instant drop at the shot.

I found the doe about sixty yards from the shot site. I felt relieved at redemption with this shot. I uttered a small prayer of thanks. The shot ended up being between forty-two and forty-five yards.

I skinned and quartered the deer and placed the meat in a basement fridge. Later I took the meat to a butcher for my time is very limited for now.

The next two days will be in support of my step-father and mother during these early stages of chemo.

 

It was great being out hunting on this first day of Pennsylvania’s early muzzleloading season. I saw fourteen deer in the five hours I was out hunting. Obviously, some were the same deer being viewed at different times. In fact I saw two bucks and I saw them three different times. The spike was chasing a doe.

The pre-dawn grays were interrupted by the hooting of a pair of Barred Owls. I need to hear those soothing calls with all that has been going on these last several months.

The first buck I saw was scarping the ground under “his” limb. He was a decent looking buck. Later this morning, while still-hunting, I saw a back of a deer and quickly identified him as this same buck. The big-boy bedded down while I was watching.

The spike buck was working along a field and I believed the deer was a doe, but at about forty-five yards the rack was observed.  This feller came to about five yards of me. I snapped away with  photos. Later, as he gazed into my eyes, I verbally said, “Hi Pretty Boy” as I motioned him to come to me. The amazing thing about this event was the buck actually took several steps towards me. He was curious. I would see this fellow later following a doe.

Old Jacob and a small Sheepshead Mushroom.

The doe he was following stopped about forty-five yards from me. Unfortunately, for me, I had made a pact this morning to limit all shots to under forty yards. Those who follow these entries should remember the fiasco I was having last year with my eyes and seeing sights properly resulting in ten failed shots. This year I had added a peep sight in place of the primitive ones. Also, I had a pair of glasses made without the bifocal lens. I am feeling somewhat confident, but wished for a clean kill to regain all confidence.  One could call this a “Shot for redemption.”

I saw a number of squirrels as the frost and cool temperatures began warming up. I quit after one to check in on my step-father and mother, before heading home to mow.

I am planning on going out Monday morning for a time. The forecast is calling for the low seventies. That is too warm.