The accountant that isn't afraid to venture outside of his cubicle.


Day 7 – October 26, 2013

Weather: Partly Cloudy, temperatures in the mid 30s

Wind: 10-15mph swirling between West, South, and North.

Time: Dawn – 10am

I decided that it was time for a change of scenery today and headed up the mountain to a spot that I haven’t hunted since 2010.  I have done a lot of scouting each year up here, but always find intriguing sign closer to the truck.  The spot rest on the very edge of the property that I hunt and allows me to see for long distances.  It also is about 50 yards from a bedding area, so it is only an option in the morning or during an all day hunt.  I was hoping to catch a buck heading to the bedding area early on.  The winds started blowing hard right away and I knew right then I had made the wrong choice on stand location for the day.  I spotted a group of 10-12 does about 150 yards away on the neighboring property, but they never made their way up the mountain and instead bedding in a thicket on the lower flat.

My view from the stand


I sat at the spot until 10am, when I received a text message from a friend of mine about going pheasant hunting.  The cold winds made sitting in a tree very much longer pretty undesirable, so I opted for some pheasant hunting.  On my way out of the hunting spot, I made sure to take notice of the freshness of the sign in the area.  I found a number of fresh scrapes and rubs, which let me know that this area should produce once the winds die down and the rut ramps up.

A nice rub


The pheasant hunting was fun, as we were able to flush quite a few birds.  However, not having a dog with us, hurt our chances of actually being able to get shots at the birds.  Many of them were flushing way out ahead of us or were running in the opposite direction of us prior to flushing.   In the end, we did a lot of walking and each of the three of us were able to take a rooster.  With as much bow hunting as I have been doing the last few years, it was a nice change of pace to do something different.  It was 4pm until we finished hunting, so I opted to sit out of the tree stand for the evening as the winds were still blowing pretty good.

My Rooster



Days 5 & 6 – October 24 & 25, 2013

October 24, 2013

Weather: Partly Cloudy, Temperatures in the mid-upper 30s

Wind: 10-15 mph out of the west

Time: Dawn – 9:30am

I opted for a quick hunt this morning considering I had been hearing about a lot of good deer movement from friends.  I set up directly across the road from my opening morning spot in one of my hang-on stands.  The wind was blowing hard from the start and the deer stayed low.  Even the amount of squirrel activity on the flat was nearly void.

October 25, 2013

Weather: Mostly Sunny with temperatures in the low 50s

Wind: 10-15mph swirling between West and South.

Time: 4pm – Dark

This evening I decided to attempt to slip into my day 2 spot for a chance at hunting close to a bedding area.  With the heavy winds, I knew that I could probably slip into the stand undetected.  On the walk in, I decided to check my lone trail camera, which is at the day 3 stand.  Low and behold I had four different pictures of the buck I ALMOST had last year.  Oddly enough he almost looks exactly the same.  He was about a 22-23″ wide 7 point last year and this year he appears to be about 25″ wide and again a 7 point with almost identical point length.  Definitely a buck that I hope to see this season.


After checking the camera, I made my way down the trail towards my spot.  I came up on a thicket that boarders the road when I heard the sound of a deer jumping up in the brush.  I quickly threw up my binoculars and wouldn’t you know it, it was the big 8 point that I had missed last Friday.  He was bedded approximately 40 yards from where I sat during rifle season last year.  That gave me great relief to see that I definitely did not wound him last week and that he was still using the area.

Once he moved out of sight, I continued to my stand.  With the loud, crunchy leaves, every step was carefully planned out to ensure that I was as quiet as possible.  Fortunately, I made it to my stand without spooking anything.  About 30 minutes after getting settled in the stand, I caught movement below me.  Here came about twelve turkeys up through the woods.  All of them were either hens or this year’s young.  Unfortunately, turkey season doesn’t start until the 2nd so I could was watch.


Around 5:30, I heard a branch break behind me.  I turned around to see a small deer making its way down the trail.  I pulled up my binoculars and sure enough it was a small button buck.  I watched him wander around for about 15 minutes, before watching the mother stand up from her bed maybe 50 yards away.  I couldn’t believe that she never heard or saw me coming into the spot.  The two of them stayed just out of range for the most part before the button buck decided to come to about 5 yards from the base of my tree.  Being young, he never looked up and continued down the hill until he was out of sight.  The mother doe came to within 25 yards, but it was a little thick for a shot, plus I knew this was the doe and fawn that I had so many pictures of in the summer, so they would be safe tonight.



I spent the remainder of the evening scanning the brush and hillside waiting for something to come down the hill, but that was not to happen tonight.  Around 6pm, I about jumped out of my stand at the sound of my Dad’s in-line muzzleloader going offer about 200 yards across the hill.  Ten minutes later, I got the “big doe down” text.  Once it got dark, I climbed down and went over to help him load up his doe.  A nice evening on stand, hopefully the winds will die down soon.

Days 3 & 4 – October 15 and 18, 2013

October 15, 2013

Weather: Clear skies, low lying fog on the fields, temps in the low 50’s

Wind: Light and variable, but mostly out of the north/northeast

Time: Dawn – 9:15am

Not much to talk about on this hunt.  There was a very heavy fog on the fields that had not lifted by the time that I left the woods.  I hunted a spot that I’ve been scouting hard for the last 11 months, but did not know how it would work in the early season.  I got to see a lot of squirrels running around, but that was it.  I will hold off hunting this spot again until the deer start moving a little more.  Based on the sign that I found last November around this spot, I am very encouraged that this should be a good spot during the rut.

October, 18, 2013

Weather: Partly Cloudy, Low 60s

Wind: West around 10mph

Time: 4pm – Dark

This day can probably be summed up as the most frustrating day of archery hunting that I have ever experienced. Hence why it has taken me nearly a week to write about this hunt. I could probably type out my frustrations of the day, but I will stick to just the bow hunting portion of the day.

I set up in my climber in a tree the I set up back in July. It is the same oak flat that I hunted opening morning, but about 30 yards up the hill from the tree that I hunted that day. The plan for the evening was to tale a doe if one were to present me with a shot.

Around 5:30 I heard walking coming from the opposite direction of where I expected the deer to be coming. I turned around and spotted a deer moving up the hill. I quickly glassed it with my binoculars and noticed it was a 4 point. He milled around in the acorns for the remainder of the evening.


A little after 6pm as the light was beginning to fade I heard walking coming from the direction of where I expected to see deer. Sure enough I spot deer legs moving through the brush. As the deer’s body became more exposed, I realized that it had a pretty large body. I grabbed my binoculars and quickly realized that it was a shooter buck. He was an 8 point with a decent spread and would probably score in the 90s. I put the binoculars down and grabbed my bow. He was about 40 yards away and needed to cross the ATV trail in order to come into range. He closed the gap and crossed the trail, but crossed about 5 yards further down than where most deer will cross. This led to him being at 15 yards, but too brushy for a shot. I began looking for potential openings on his path and spotted one on the other side of my tree. As he walked, I carefully spun around and got ready. When he stepped behind a large oak, I drew my bow. He stepped out from the tree and into the opening. I settled my pin on his vitals and released. The buck jumped and took off running down the hill. I felt confident about the shot, but figured I would at least climb down and find my arrow. When I got over to where the buck was standing, all I could find was his tracks. No blood. No arrow. No hair. I couldn’t believe it. I spent the rest of the evening and 4 hours on Saturday just looking for something. I was able to locate his running tracks and followed them for about 100 yards, but never found a single drop of blood. I’m assuming that my arrow deflected on a small branch that I did not see through my peep sight. I searched a very large radius looking for the arrow, but I was never able to locate it.

As the temperatures begin to drop, my focus is beginning to come back and I’m finally feeling the desire to be in a tree stand again. Hopefully, I can put this day behind me and focus on the better days ahead.

Day two – October 9, 2013

Weather – mid 40s, mostly sunny
Wind – light and swirling a bit, but mostly out of the northeast
Time – dawn – 9:15am

With the pending bad weather ahead for the remainder of the week, I figured that today looked to be the best weather-wise.  Today I decided to set up in a hang-on that I put up several months before the season that I have been scouting since last December.  It has two heavy trails going through the area, both of which lead to a popular bedding area.  In addition, there are a handful of mature oaks to provide an early season attraction.

A view from the stand


As I was walking to my stand, I busted a fairly large flock of turkeys from their roost.  For the first hour and a half of daylight it sounded more like May than October as the lost birds yelped and cackled to each other in an attempt to regroup.

Around 8:00 the first deer of the day showed up, a nice sized year and a half old doe walking by herself.  She slipped in to my left and got to about 15 yards before heading up the hill towards the bedding area.  Fortunately for her I need to head to work today because I would normally jump at the opportunity to harvest a deer of that description.


About five minutes after she moved on, I had 3 does run past my stand from the west at full tilt. 

The rest of the morning was fairly quiet with a few squirrels running around gathering acorns and the occasional glimpse of a turkey in the distance. 

Around 9am, I decided to call it a day.  As I was packing up my gear, I heard the ever familiar sound of a branch snapping.  I turned around to see a doe and fawn, that I had on my trail camera quite regularly, heading right for me.  They milled around for a bit before finally heading up the hill.  At that point it was 9:15 and knew I would have to hustle back to my truck so that I could make it to work by 10.  Another fairly productive morning in the deer woods.  Hopefully the weatherman is a little bit wrong for Friday and Saturday so that I can scratch my bow hunting itch some more before the usual “October-lull” sets in.

PA Archery season – Day one – October 5, 2013

Weather: upper 60s – low 70s, hazy
Wind: light out of the southwest
Time: Dawn – 10am

I spent the morning hunting over an oak flat that has about 25 mature oak trees in a 30 yard radius, making it a deer magnet when the acorns are dropping.  I was not expecting a lot of movement with the unseasonably warm temperatures.  It seemed for a while that I would not be seeing anything except squirrels today.

At about 7:45, I caught movement down below me.  A quick glassing with the binoculars revealed a deer that I am becoming very familiar with seeing.  Only a three point, but he is probably about 13″ wide and showed up on my one trail camera for 9 consecutive days in September.  Shortly after spotting him, he casually made his way up the hill munching on acorns the hole way.  He came to within 15 yards before continuing up over the hill.


After he left, a heavy fog came through the area, which made visibility about 40 yards for a good 30 minutes.  I started considering getting out of the tree around 9 am, that was until 8:45, when I caught more movement.  This time it was a large doe and 2 fawns.  They worked their way up the hill and all came within 5 yards of the base of my tree.  The one fawn spent several minutes milling around directly underneath my feet.  They stuck around for about 30 minutes before working their way up the hill and out of sight.




At about 10am, I decided to call it a day and climbed down the tree.  With afternoon temperatures expected to be in the mid 80s, I decided to not go out in the evening.  I will hit the woods one or two mornings this week, hopefully the good deer movement will continue.

The Restart

After just over a year of not posting, it is time to get back to writing about my outdoor experiences.  With just two weeks until the PA Archery Opener, the majority of the upcoming posts over the next three months will be related to deer hunting.  I used to keep a very detailed journal of all of my archery hunts, but as with many things, I got away from it.  So for the 2013 season, I will be posting each adventure into the PA woods right here.  With the help of my camera, recently purchased GoPro, and video camera, I hope to take you, the reader, along for the ride.

In addition to deer hunting, I will also be posting about my maple syrup making, wild trout fishing expeditions, and everything else in between.

Falling Spring Branch 6/24/12

After what has seemingly been forever, I finally found my way down to falling spring branch today.  I spent a lot of time at this stream during my college years and will always make a few ventures down to here each year.  I started out today with the hope of finding an early hatch of Tricos.  I arrived at 8 am to find a swarm of them hovering over the creek.  Figuring it would probably be at least 30 minutes to an hour until the spinner fall I decided to take a seat on the bank and tie a new leader.  Just as I finished the leader the fish began to steadily rise.  I tied on my size 24 trico spinner at it was on.


On my very first cast a small rainbow dashed over to my fly and grabbed it.  Unfortunately I was bit quick on the hook set and missed it.  The same thing happend on the next two casts.  I took a few seconds to relax and pick out another rising trout to cast to.  I noticed a decent rainbow coming rather steadily so I made a cast within a foot of his location.  Seconds after my fly hit the water, he grabbed it and I was hooked on.  A nice 9-10 inch rainbow that was squirming around a bit too much for a picture.  I continued on the stretch for another two hours until the tricos were done and was able to pick up 4 more rainbows between 5 and 10 inches along with many more misses.  While head back to the truck I noticed a decent rainbow steadily rising in the same pool that I had started.  I read the water for a few minutes before figuring that he was probably sipping emerging midges.  I tied on a size 20 CDC zebra midge and waited for him to give away his location.  A soon as he rose again I pinpointed my cast just above him.  He came over and examined the fly but wouldn’t take it.  I figured another look might change his mind.  This time as soon as the fly hit the water he raced over to it and grabbed.  I made a quick hook set and after a few acrobatic leaps I was able to bring the 10-11″ rainbow to hand.


After releasing him I decided to end the day with some streamer fishing.  I was able to get a few exciting follows and even a quick swat in this stretch but no
luck.  I moved down to another stretch and on the second cast got hard take.  After a short fight I brought a chunky 11″ rainbow to hand.  I continued on stretch but was only able to get a few follows before deciding to call it a day.  Another great morning on what is probably my favorite stream.  Not because I can catch a lot of fish here but more for the challenges that it presents and not the mention all of the great memories that I have had on this stream over the last 11 years.


The Spring Woods


No turkeys this weekend but did find a large patch of Pink Lady’s Slippers in top of the mountain.



Then during one of my setups I had this young buck show up along with a doe.  After circling me and having a stare down for over 15 minutes I decided to try to spook him so I could call it a day.  However, he was determined not to leave without figuring out what I was against the tree.  It looked like he was done with me when I decided to make a few bleats with my mouth and here he came again to within 10 yards where he stood for a good 5 minutes before finally wandering off.  A fun experience especially when the turkey hunting has been so boring lately.

PA Spring Gobbler Opener

When the alarm sounded off at 4:30am, I found no problem getting out of bed as I anticipated the morning ahead.  I gathered all of my gear, loaded it into the truck, and then headed for my spring gobbler area.  I arrived to the parking area around 5:15am and noticed that I was the first person to arrive.  I decided to head to a spot where I had heard a bird sounding off a few days earlier.  I arrived to my listening area about 1 mile from the truck just as the daylight began to appear.  I no sooner sat down on my usual log when the sound that I had longed to hear that morning could be heard and heard often.  I quickly moved down the mountain trail and closed to within 100 yards of the gobbling bird.  I set up underneath a large oak tree that had excellent vision in front of it.  The bird continued to sound off as I put on my gloves and facemask.  Once fully set up, I pulled out my Ring Zone slate call and made a few soft yelps.  The bird sounded off in response.  He now knew right where I was located.  I decided to set the call down and wait to see what he did once he flew down.  Within 2 minutes of making my call, the woods went silent as the bird apparently had flown down and found some real hens to accompany him.  I sat at the spot for another hour as I made a few more calls and watched a curious raccoon climb a nearby tree.

I moved down the trail in the direction of where the bird had been roosted, when I could hear the faint sound of a bird gobbling on a property that I did not have access to hunt.  However, PA State Game Lands border the property on the very top of the mountain.  My new plan was to circle up to the top of the mountain and work my way out to where I figured the bird was hanging out.  I made the 3/4 of a mile hike to the top of the mountain, where I could pick up the State Game Lands trail that goes out across the top.  Just as I arrived at the top I watched a few deer feed in front of me.  While watching them I decided that I would go down over the other side of the mountain to see if there were any birds hanging on that side.  Once the deer moved out of sight, I walked down over the mountain and found a nice area to make a few locator calls.  I slipped the HS Strut Raspy Old Hen call into my mouth and directed my first call towards my left.  Silence…  I then turned to my right and started with a few purrs then just as I got into my yelps, I was cut off by sound of a red hot gobbler that couldn’t have been more than 80 yards away. I found the closest tree and quickly got set up.  About two minutes after getting fully set up I figured I would give another call to let the bird know that I was still here and to see if he had closed the distance.  I got the call positioned in my mouth when I spotted a turkey fan spinning around about 50 yards away.  At that point I moved the call to the side of my mouth because I would not need to make another call.  The bird continued to close in fanning out, strutting, spitting, and drumming.  Whenever he would get to full strut, he would do a 360 degree spin as he looked for the hen that he thought he had heard.  He continued to close the gap and got to about 20 yards into a clear opening.  I decided that as soon as he broke strut I would send a shot in his direction.  After making another spin, he broke strut and began acting as if he were no longer interested in finding the hen.  I knew it was now or never so I sent the 3 1/2″ Hevi 13 5 shot in 2 1/4 oz from my Remington 870 Super Magnum his direction.  The shot found its mark and the bird piled up.  When I got over to him I knew that this could very well be my best bird to date.  I filled out my tag, loaded him into my vest, and began the 1 mile trek back to the truck.

4th gobbler in 4 years for the Raspy Old Hen.

10 1/2″ beard, 1″ broken spurs (downside of hunting turkeys in rocky terrain), and 20lb 6oz, which is more than enough to make this my best gobbler.  Now it’s time to see if I can fill tag number two.

“Wild” day off

With tax season coming to an end earlier this week, I figured I would have plenty of time of make several blog posts.  Apparently, I just had a lot of pent up cabin fever that I had to get rid of.   Our firm allowed us to have one free day off this week, so I checked the weather and decided that Thursday would be ideal.  Nice and cool in the morning while warm and sunny in the afternoon.

For my first day off in over 3 1/2 months, I decided to wake up at 5am and go scouting for the upcoming turkey season.  I got to my normal  listening area by 6am and sat there until 6:45am without hearing a peep.  I decided to head down the mountain and see if there were any birds sounding off down below.  Just as I got to the bottom, the familiar sound of a tom turkey gobbling echoed through the woods.  I decided to go back up the hill a little bit further in an attempt to pin point him.  Just as I got to the top of the hill, he let out another thunderous gobble.  After a few minutes a 2nd bird began sounding off even further up the mountain, which then set off an immediate response from the closer bird.  This was what I needed to get myself completely ready from a mental stand point for opening day.

With two gobblers pinpointed, I decided to see if I could find a few early season morels.  Given the fact that we are having such an early spring in PA, these might be the only morels this area will see for the year.  I scanned the normal spots and didn’t see too much.  Just as I got to the bottom of the one trail, I spotted one next to a large tulip poplar.  I quickly picked it and moved on.  Knowing that there were morels up, I decided to do a more extensive search.  My search yielded two more nice-sized yellows, which would go well with whatever I decided to have for dinner.

After leaving the woods, I ran a few errands then headed for my favorite spring time lake to see how the crappies were feeding.  I paddled my kayak out to the normal crappie spots and found a few holding among shallow structure.  The crappie bite was slow and many of the best spots were already taken, but it seemed that everything else in the lake was feeding pretty well.  I was able  to land several bluegills, a few largemouth bass(including a 15″ one on a small trout fly), three yellow perch, and three rock bass.  Once one of the good spots opened up I paddled over there and began working the structure with trout flies and 1″ tube lures.  I was able to land three decent crappies that I decided would pair perfectly with the morels for nice PA wild dinner.

It ended up being a nice day out in the PA wilds and a perfect way to forget about tax season.