Hunting season 2005 is about to begin. As I have done for the past several years I will make the daily entries into my hunting journal available here.

In the past I have received many notes from folks saying they enjoy reading my "adventures" and appreciate the photos I include.

I am looking forward to this upcoming hunting season.
I have a new 22 rifle with scope and hope to use it for some squirel hunting which I have not done alot of in the past. I hope that will change this year.

I have my regular license, archery stamp, DMAP Coupon #1 for Clear Creek Sate Forest and a 2F antlerless tag to fill this year. I do hope to take a day or two and try for a fall turkey this year, which will be a first for me.

Bear season is still a question for me, not sure if I'll get a license for that or not.

So...... sit back and enjoy reading about my adventures in Penn's Woods for 2005.


Today was the first day of the 2005 archery season for Whitetail Deer here in Pennsylvania...

I went to my favorite spot on Clear Creek State Forest. I climbed into my tree stand at 6:00am and waited for daylight. Just before day light I saw and heard another hunter entering the woods and headed directly at me. I hit the old flashlight and he stopped and turned and went off in another direction. Fifteen minutes later (after it was light) I saw where he was headed..His tree stand was sitting about 25 yards behind me..oh well.... I didn't know it was there...

Not much happening in the woods most of the morning..acorns dropping and some chipmunks and that was about all until 10:15am when I decided to get ready to climb down out of the tree. About a 100 yards away a nice doe came walking through eating acorns as she walked by.

It was really a beautiful fall morning and what better way to spend it than sitting in a tree stand waiting for a Pa. whitetail to come by.

While I use to feel it was a successful hunt if I had picked the right tree to get a good clean shot ( if I decided to shoot) at one of the whitetails I WOULD see....

This year I will think it is a good hunt if I pick the right tree to SEE a whitetail from.. 8-)

So with that in mind this morning was a good hunt....

The afternoon hunt started out ALL WRONG.... I went to three of afternoon locations and found vehicles already parked there at each of them .. so back to an area of Clear Creek Sate Forest I have never hunted before. I chose an area where three gas line right-of-ways come together. TONS of acorns on the ground and the sounds of constantly falling acorns filled the afternoon air. Spotted no deer.. a few chipmunks..and no squirrels.. I believe I will STRIKE this area from future hunts.. quit hunting at 6:30pm and headed home to find four deer in a posted field right along the roadside..

MONDAY -- 3rd

This afternoon I hunted some private property that I have permission to hunt on. With the temperature being so warm this afternoon I felt the deer may stop at a small pond on the property on their way to cross the road and enter a corn field just before dark. Well it sounded like a good idea......
I saw no deer or anything else as a matter of fact, I will return to this area though because I have seen a NICE buck crossing the road here.
Spotted one doe standing along the road on the way home.
Did not get to excited about this afternoon's hunt. I never got into the woods until 5:15pm. I went to SGL #54 to really find a tree and leave my climber for a morning hunt tomorrow morning. I did sit in the tree until quitting time, so I will count it as a hunt. Did not see anything. I talked to two other archers this evening and neither of them are seeing any deer.. Both mentioned the TONS of acorns in the woods around here. I think this is going to make early archery a REAL everywhere...

Both also mentioned they have not seen any squirrels yet , I told them that I have not seen any either.. interesting... usually they are everywhere that I have hunted this year..???

I really believe the warm weather is making hunting/sightings hard too...

We'll see what the morning brings..

Had a morning hunt on SGL# 54 where I left my tree stand last night. What a quiet morning, hardly heard any sounds at all. A few crows and an occasional chipmunk but I saw absolutely nothing there this morning. I was planning an afternoon hunt but gave up on that idea, I think it is just too HOT !
I was sweating just playing with the horses early in the afternoon.

I did receive an interesting phone call just about noon. It was from a lady reporter from a Pittsburgh radio station. She wants to do a program on deer hunting ..DMAPs, and deer management over at Clear Creek State Forest. So I agreed to be interviewed with some folks from DCNR this Saturday much for a Saturday morning deer hunt. 8-)
She is from the Allegheny Front Organization and I am looking forward to meeting with her.

This morning was the radio interview..
The lady's name was Ann Murray and she was very professional. She explained she is doing a series of interviews to be broadcast in November and December about deer hunting and the deer management plans of both the PGC and DCNR.She is/has interviewing people from DCNR.. PGC.. private landowners and wanted input from a a hunter's point of view also. Thus the interview with me

The FIRST surprise came when I found out it was going to be a one on one interview.. I thought there were going to be others there... WRONG....

We sat in the pravillion at shelter 5 ( I think ) by the lake/pond and talked for about an hour.The SECOND surprise came when I found out she had read and "studied" things I have on my webpages and on my message board and had questions about some of what I have there pertaining to deer hunting and management.

She then asked if we could go around the forest and if I would point out some of the places I have mentioned on my webpages. And if we could do our conversations "live" for the broadcast as I pointed out things I look for while scouting an area.

The wheat field was one spot so I can only imagine she viewed the page I had made last Sunday on that area..

We stopped at the headwaters exclosure and she was REALLY REALLY impressed with the growth inside the fence and I told her that was just from this spring and it was easy for both of us to see the difference even if it has only been a few months.

I showed her the deer exclosure that I am DISAPPOINTED in and she said she too wondered why the growth is not like the same time period exclosure across the road.

Our next stop was the sorghum field on McNeil and we discovered track and saw areas that are starting to get browsed by deer and I mentioned that the acorns are starting to disappear there too.. she asked me to show (tell) the differences between red and white acorns and LUCKILY I have learned that... so I handled that question well..

She asked how I could tell if deer or other animals were doing the browsing. once again because of my "new friends" and interest in getting education about deer and habitat and management I handled that one good too...

We stopped at the wheat field from Sunday..another truck stopped and Ann ended up doing a short interview with the fellas in the truck... They were "the other" side.....NO deer left.... the good old days are gone forever.....PGC traded turkeys for coyotes... coyotes eating what deer are out there....shooting does ruins deer hunting forever... ...ETC...ETC...

I was biting my tongue the WHOLE TIME and smiling on the inside... the other side's opinions on the same day...:)

I mentioned that four years ago I was "one of them" and we talked for awhile about what changed my I mentioned that many times..

Our last stop was at the Bear exclosure on McNeil and I must say she was impressed with the re- growth there.

It was an enjoyable several hours and I can only hope she has some info that she will be able to use in her programs...She promised to let me know the air dates of the programs and told me they can be "streamed" live or listened to later on their website.

Well it's just a matter of waiting for the air dates and see what makes it onto the air waves...

We even managed to see a deer 8-)

Well time to get back to archery deer hunting..
MONDAY - 17th

Well I finally found the time to get into the woods for a little deer hunting. Spent from 4:30 until 6:30pm in my ladder stand behind our home. I saw nothing. I did hear what sounded like a rifle shot at 6:45pm. Just a litle after legal hours. 8-(

Wow.... what a hard time I am have having finding the time to hunt this year.
Being out of work (plant closed) and trying to work a part-time job that my hours change daily.. new job interviews.. and attending meetings (classes) to keep myself on the unemployment rooster for benefits to continue is making the time to hunt hard to come by this year.
I did manage to climb into the ladder stand behind the house for 2 hours this afternoon from 4-6:00pm. I spooked "a deer" on my way in and that was it...
FRIDAY - 28th

Decided to try the ladder stand in the "backyard" after work this afternoon.. 4:00pm on my way to the ladder stand I spooked a doe and THE BIGGEST BUCK I HAVE SEEN IN 18 YEARS OF LIVING WHERE I LIVE...IN MY BACKYARD YET !!!!

After settling into the tree stand my mind wondered if I would have been able to draw and hold on that buck OR would have "buck fever" REALLY affect my reactions. I may have to wait for another day to get the answer to that question...

I did hear him grunt about three time of to the left in the Hemlocks before I left for the night.

I tried the "CAN" (doe bleat). grunting..and some light rattling but I guess he was not about to leave that doe and venture back my way...

Coming down from the stand at 6:15pm I spooked two more does and a small buck...

Oh well there's still PLENTY of time to fill my 3 tags... deer season is still only about half over for me..

I think I will concentrate on hunting in the "backyard" for the rest of archery least that way I can get in several more afternoon hunts, even on days I work...

I sat in my ladder stand in my backyard from 6:00am until 6:15pm today minus a 3 minute walk back to the house for lunch and a ride to Brockway...Lost one hour...I saw only a rabbit and two chipmunks.

Goes to prove (in my mind) that using the number of deer seen one a particular day is NOT a way to determine the deer population in any given area.. where were the deer from last night ???

It was very windy all day so I imagine the deer were bedded or were traveling and feeding in some other area because of the wind , leaves falling,ETC.. Probably did not feel to "SAFE" out walking around..

My wife and I saw three at 9:00pm eating apples in the neighboring camp yard as they cross the lane and went into the pasture, they crossed right under our "street light" where we park the vehicles and one just went walking down the lane 8-)
They usually show up over there around I think this adds to my thoughts about not moving during the day because of the wind...

A buck has TOTALLY wiped out one of the fruit trees the owner planted this spring, the bark is gone the entire way around the trunk...BOY he is going to be PISSED !!!
That's like the third time that has happened 8-)


Sat in the ladder stand this morning until 11;00am and saw nothing. I got down and walked around for about an hour and on the start back up the hill to the house I spotted a nice doe bedded down. As I got to about 50 yards she must have "winded" me and she stood up and started looking around. I jumped behind a tree and waited to see which way she started to walk, she never got within that 40 yards so I passed on an 'long" shots hoping for a closer shot on another day..

I returned to the ladder stand in the late afternoon and stayed until quitting time.. NOTHING..
MONDAY - 6th

Climbed up in the ladder stand in the backyard at 3:45pm this afternoon. I was hoping that finally some deer would show up back there. I know they are around but just have not showed up while I was on stand.
Tonight was to be the exception.. about 10 minutes before quitting time I spotted three deer approaching the open area in front of the stand. The wind was perfect .. it was blowing directly in my face and the deer were walking at about a 45 degree angle from the left in front of the stand. The first one came jumping into the open area and headed directly to about 30 yards in front of me stopping completely broadside.

The perfect shot..only trouble was that as soon as she stopped she looked DIRECTLY up at me sitting on top the ladder stand with my bow between my legs... well to make a long story short the other two stopped off to the left and I could not see them or move AT ALL... This doe was SMART.. she started putting her head down and just like that raised it back up staring at me this little cat and mouse game went on for about 10 minutes.

All I could do was sit there frozen in the same position, trying to raise the bow would be the end of the stand off... Finally she lowered her head and fed long enough to rise the bow... I did not get a chance to pull before once again she was staring at me inhaling the air trying to figure out what that was in that tree... I knew it had to be quitting time so I made up my mind the next time she moved her head if only for a second.. I was drawing the bow.

She did and I did but before I came to full draw she looked up spotted me and was GONE in a flash off to the laft and the other two were in HOT pursuit...

No harvest but what a fun time playing cat and mouse with that doe...


I spent that last hour and a half of legal shooting time in the ladder stand in the backyard today. I saw the "Big Buck" headed south across the creek at about 4:30pm. He did not respond to a grunt or some light rattling.... Still have two hunts to go ..... 8-)
FRIDAY - 11th

Spent from 3:45 until 5:15pm in the ladder stand again, this time I saw only a rabbit.. no deer..
Tomorrow is the last day, my last chance for an archery deer. I am not to worried though I know I can harvest one back there come rifle season.

Today was the last day of the 2005 archery whitetail season.
I CAN NOT believe for the first time that I can remember I over-slept for hunting or fishing trip... 8-(
It was already daylight when I awoke... decided not to waste time in the ladder stand so I started down over the hill on foot. I no sooner started towards the hemlocks and I spotted a buck traveling parallel to me to the North. I stopped and grunted but it paid no attention it went into the hemlocks and I never saw it again. It was not the "big buck"
I found the spot in those hemlocks where I will be on the first day of rifle season. Those Hemlocks have provided me with the most harvests of whitetails since I started hunting here at home.
I think this year will be another year for them to produce a harvest..

I went home for a little lunch and the guy from a neighboring camp stopped and asked if I would help him hang up his buck. He harvests a nice 9 point at 10:30am on SGL#54 a little over a mile and a half away from where I was hunting. There is a photo in the photo gallery of his buck.

I returned to the ladder stand at 3:00pm and had the same doe from Monday come in broadside again at 5:05pm. This time a little further away and with two other small deer... I think I mis-judged just how much further away she was ... I MISSED !!!!

Could not find the arrow as it got dark quick, so I'll return in the morning and try to retrieve the arrow.

Hours Spent Archery Hunting -- 50

Red Squirrels
Large Woodpecker
Many types of birds

SUMMARY ---- This year was disappointing in that I did not get to spend much time hunting. After 18 years of 4-12 shift I found afternoon hunting different and finding the time to get to the woods even more difficult..
Most of my favorite spots are all "morning" sites so having mostly afternoon hunts was different but still rewarding..

I also managed to average only 3 hours per outing.. that's not a very long hunt and about half the time i have spent on each outing in the past.

Out of the 15 trips into the woods I spotted deer on half of those trips.
So I guess that is good.

I am looking forward now to rifle season, as of now I plan on hunting behind the house as I do ALMOST every year for the first day..then Clear Creek
... But that may change. I am not real excited about not being able to hunt every morning for the first time in 18 years but hopefully I'll manage a few days to hunt whitetails somehow !!!

Overall all I'll rate Archery Season 2005 as a 7...

MONDAY - 28th

I had a successful first day of rifle season harvesting an antlerless whitetail at 10:30am in the hemlock grove behind the house. That makes 9 deer I have taken in those hemlocks. I jumped two bedded does on the drag home and another deer bedded down on the way back down after some lunch.
I saw a total of 9 deer today 3 of them I do not know what sex they were.
There was 13 guys at the three camps I associate with and only 3 doe tags counting mine. Bill Jr shot a nice 7 point and saw many does. Everyone that hunted behind the house and down in the hollow saw lots of does but only 3 bucks were spotted. Of all the camps there were 2 bucks and 7 antlerless harvested..a good year but not many bucks...

I heard a 15 year old shot an 8 point with a 26 inch spread across the creek towards Bond Road.

Rained all day yesterday (HEAVY) so no one was hunting around here. I thought after running all day the deer would spend yesterday resting and be up and at it today.. NO such luck.

I hunted behind the house (on the move) until 11:00am. I saw NOTHING.. I talked to three other hunters and they had seen nothing either.

I spent the afternoon over at Clear Creek and saw nothing over there and heard no shooting close by.

Saw 10 does standing in Travis's field on the way home..BUMMER...

I think all the guys have gone home, I see no lights on at the other 3 camps..

I have to work the next two days so I'll be back out on Saturday for another all day hunt over at CCSF .. I'll try to fill that DMAP coupon over there..

I did notice while I was over there, something has really been eating all those acorns that were everywhere in archery season.


Started down to the ladder stand at 3:45pm after work and as I was climbing up the ladder I heard a crashing and turned to see the "big buck" busting out of the thicket less than 100 yards from the stand. No chance for a shot....
So that's where the big boy is hanging out.. interesting... 8-)
FRIDAY - 2nd

I set-up after work for an hour and a half hunt below my ladder stand hoping to see the big boy again.. no such luck. It really started snowing and I could hardly see 50 feet in front of me so rather than take a chance a "spooking" any deer I returned home after just 45 minutes of hunting...

Lot of traveling and walking today and no deer sightings.
Started the morning in my ladder stand until 9:00am.

Then into the hemlock grove for another hour.
As I started towards the hemlocks I noticed where 6 deer had bedded in a group less than 50 yards from my ladder stand during the night.

After the hemlocks, I decided to go down into the hollow and walk the creek.
Noticed one set of footprints in the snow.
No hunters in the area and even the camps are empty today.

After a quick lunch it was off to Clear Creek State Forest. I stopped at four different areas and noticed no cars or trucks parked ANYWHERE over there...

Where are the hunters ????

I saw tracks but no moving deer today ...
poor day.. BUT there is still next week...
MONDAY - 5th

Ladder stand after work..saw 3 does. Two were feeding about a hundred yards away but never moved in closer.. Came out of the stand at quitting time (4:51pm) and did not spook those deer.. I still have hopes for a harvest from my ladder stand though...

Filled my Clear Creek State Forest DMAP coupon after work today. Spotted an antlerless deer feeding at about 150 yards and stalked to within 40 yards, dropping the deer on the spot.
Now it's down to 4 days and I still have a buck to harvest....

Hours Spent Rifle Hunting -- 36

cottontail rabbit

HARVESTED... 2 antlerless

Rifle season was a successful hunt for me and I rate it a 10..
I enjoyed the company of fellow hunters for the opening day as we usually do. It was a shame it rained so bad on the second day sending most home. Also I think it was too bad many of the hunters in the group could not get doe tags this year. As I wrote we saw many does on the first day, telling me we still have an unbalanced population in the area we hunt here.
I enjoyed seeing the 6 deer beds in the back yard after hunters had gone home, this tells me we should have another good year next year. I just hope more will get doe tags next year to help reduce the number of does living around here..
Weather, except for Tuesday was good for deer hunting, I just wish I would have had more time to hunt in the mornings, that has always been my favorite time to hunt, I am still learning the afternoon hunting techniques..
I am still amazed at the total lack of hunters in this area, there are still plenty of deer to be harvested here but the hunters have gone to others places.....

Thanks for viewing this year's addition to my hunting journals and I hope you returned again next year...