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garrymny

Last Gasp Deer Hunt: PA Flintlock Muzzleloader

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This year was my 41st year of deer hunting. I missed one year, back in 1985 when I joined the Air Force. Every other year I have hunted Pennsylvania deer  (where I was raised) with my Dad, and my "people". For the last 15 years my best friend has come from Idaho to hunt with us. We hunt both PA and NY. I live near Buffalo. In NY, the only place we have to hunt is the Alabama Swamps. Very tough place to hunt. The cover is extremely thick, and plentiful. Deer numbers are only fair, not abundant, in my experienced opinion.  We don't do real well in the swamps, but opportunities and sightings are frequent enough to keep it interesting....usually. Unless they become nocturnal, then forget it.   This year, I got 2 doe in the swamp. No buck. In PA, my friend got a really nice 8 point the first day. My Dad, who is 80, was afraid to shoot the rifle this year. Last year he had  a vertebrae in his neck replaced, and it did not heal. At his age, he opted not to have another operation. So, I loaded up some reduced loads for his Savage 99, in 250/3000. I told him there will be very little recoil. He missed a big doe, and said he didn't even notice the kick. This made him less afraid. So, a few days later, 3 doe came blazing across the field and he shot, once.  I came out to the field, it was close to quitting time, getting darker, and he said he hit one, and saw it fall. We looked and looked. Could not find it. My buddy and I went back out with lights. Could not find it.  Dad was very disappointed, and was saying his hunting days were over, he couldn't shoot anymore, the rifle with the reduced loads may not be enough to kill them etc. Next day was pouring rain. We took a long road trip with Dad, and he showed us the sites around Tidioute PA. Big circle. At 330, I went back out to his Deer Shanty. I looked out the window with the binos, and there, 75 yards out, was a dead deer. Perfect Lung shot. Complete pass through. We must have went past it at least once or twice. When I showed my Dad the picture of the deer, he was saddened we could not find it, but elated that he could still shoot, and the reduced loads would work. It was too warm to salvage the meat. The coyotes are now having a feast, Dad says, he heard them yipping out there. But, to return to the story, My Dad is the best rifle shot I have ever known, and I have known many. I have put countless deer out to him, and other unknown hunters have as well. Deer running full blast, loping, whatever. It almost  ALWAYS ended  up with a dead deer on the ground. He is truly one of a very few with this level of expertise. Anyways, on the last day,  he was in the shanty, took one last look out the window, and  a big doe was standing 40 yards away. He dropped it in its tracks. Needless to say, he was very happy, and now he is excited and can't wait for another season to come around. I told him I will be coming down to hunt Deer with the Flintlock in PA's late season, which opens day after Christmas. This is a fun hunt. Flintlock is an entirely different ball game than an inline or percussion rifle. I call them Flinch-locks. But, I was sad to see my season come to a close, as I absolutely love to hunt deer in the snow, my favorite way to hunt is called stillhunting, where you slowly creep along, stopping often. For ideal stillhunting conditions, that means snow, and lately that means Muzzleloading, if we are lucky. Plus I would like to take a Buck. So, my season is not over yet! 

Edited by garrymny

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I would say ..wow!!..in Pennsylvania it is legal to shoot late!!! You guys get an extra 1/2 hour. 

Edited by Gill-T
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14 minutes ago, Gill-T said:

I would say first...wow......where is it legal to shoot at 5:00?????  Are you part of the group of hunters at Alabama Swamp in full camouflage that crash thru the brush during the witching hour while blowing on crow calls??

 

In Pennsylvania. The further south you are the later the sun sets. Todays sunset in Jacksonville FL was 5:29 p.m.. Give the guy a break....a good story in my books.

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yeah, they have a chart, it gets progressively later as you go west. As you know visibility can depend on many factors, cloud cover, snow cover, etc. Usually those factors weigh in similar to time of day.

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I am not saying he was shooting illegally late?  Look at the Pennsylvania legal shooting chart.  It is 1/2 hour later than NY. I am merely noting the difference between the two states. 

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No worries. Love hunting camp stories. Funny one state North and it is dark at 4:45. Earth is round. Wow, Western PA you can shoot till 5:20!  I need to get a Pennsylvania license.  

 

 

Edited by Gill-T

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