Of a PA forest.
Went out this morning for my first archery season since 2015 (and that was only one day). I might try to get back out later this afternoon, depends on the family's agenda for today.
Thanks to some great info from a fellow HPA member, I found a spot in the state forest in an area that has plenty of deer sign.
With the limited time I've had for scouting this year I kind of felt like I was going in, not really blind, more like going in without my glasses. But I did get some time to check things out.
I found my way in the dark to the spot I picked out two weeks ago and got myself settled in just before it was light enough to see. No matter where I'm hunting, being a part of the forest as it comes to life for the day stirs a special feeling in me, every time. This morning was no exception.
As the sun began lighting up the tree tops, I finally noticed that it wasnít all that warm this morning, and that I was slightly underdressed for the temps. Still, the cool air felt far better than the sweat inducing heat that was present the last time I was on this ridge. The crispness of the air made the world seem right again.
About a half hour later I caught movement in front of me; a chipmunk scurrying along a log. Shortly after that the squirrels began their daily routine of back and forth, up and down, and generally just being their annoying selves.
It was also about this time that I realized that nothing seemed ďdifferentĒ to me. Even though I havenít hunted in PA since 2011, except for that one day archery hunt in 2015, I hadnít noticed the differences from my hunting locales of the past 7 years and hereÖ. until now. The sights and sounds of the PA forests are that ingrained in me, even with not being in them for so long.
About the only thing the same are the types of trees. The ground brush is different, no such thing as Mountain Laurel in Germany. The sounds and sights of wildlife are different, gray squirrels, chipmunks, the screech of the Blue Jay. All different, yet normal. Iíve hunted over there for 13 years, yet each time Iím out I feel like so much is different. Here it is normal, and in my mind, as it should be.
I had just glanced at my watch, it was 07:59, when I looked over my shoulder and spotted movement 40-50 yards to my left. I slowly turned to look and spotted the unmistakable shape and ears that make up the head of a black bear. Something else not found in my previous hunting area! I watched as he (assuming he, alone and looked to be 150-200 lbs) slowly made his way up the hill and through the laurels. Looked like he was feeding on the acorns as he made his way to rest for the day. Snapped a couple of photos with my phone, but can only kind of see him in one.
He's in the first photo attached.
Now with my mind and senses back to hunting and not nostalgia, I got back to the business of looking for what I came for; the Whitetail deer. As fate would have it, none were seen.
I stayed in that spot until around 10:00 then did a little poking around to look for other stand locations in the vicinity. The area is thick with laurels and Iím a ground hunter, so good spots are hard to find. I did find a trail that I could use for easier access, but it would greatly lengthen the hike in. I plan to explore the area some more, but on Sundays. Sounds like a good reason to take the Frau on a hike.
This seems like a long write up for a one morning hunt that was void of deer sightings, but that is what the sights and sounds of the PA forest do to me!