It seems as if the deer hunting gets tougher up here every year. I don't know if it's because there are fewer deer, the deer are bigger and smarter, there are fewer hunters around, we're just getting older, or all the above. Nevertheless, we arrived at deer camp on Sunday eagerly awaiting the first day. This year, we had a first at Peter's Camp. My niece was hunting with us. She is the first female deer hunter at Peter's Camp! The first day greeted us with Spring like temperatures and very little shooting. It was music to my ears when I heard my friend Matt shoot only 100 yards away from me at 3:00 pm. He dropped a nice 7 pointer. It was the same buck I saw the week before in Bear Season. I think we were the only camp in our area to get a buck on the first day. We were planning on staying up on Tuesday, but the warm weather forced us to bring the deer home early. Three of us came back up on Saturday, and my brother and I hunted the last day. We saw one doe and a bear, but that was it. We had really cold temperatures and a nice 2" snow cover for the last day, and while we didn't see many deer, we did see a lot of tracks. There are definitely some deer around, they're just hard to find. So another deer season is over in PA and I did not get any shooting. I did shoot two deer in Maryland, so we have plenty of venison in the freezer. It may be a while now until I get back to camp. Christmas, New Years, and work will occupy much of my time in the next few months. The camp will now settle in for it's "Long Winter's Nap."
I was able to get up to camp the past two weekends. Last weekend we came up for turkey season. We did find a flock by 10am, but came home empty handed. The birds managed to give us the slip all day, and we realized how out-of-shape we were and how much better-suited the birds are to the rugged terrain. I was surprised at the large number of archers we saw out hunting. The deer are definitely in the rut right now as we saw several buck out running around. This past Saturday, I came up for the first day of bear season. It was one of the first times I've come up in a long time that every cabin was opened. It was great to see so many people up in the cabins. I didn't see any bear. Most of the shooting sounded as if it was over towards Leetonia, so I'll be anxious to see what Paula has to say on her post. I was able to get the leaves cleaned up around the camp. After celebrating Thanksgiving with our families this week, I'll be heading down to Maryland for the first two days of the season and then back up here to camp for the first two days of the PA season. Hopefully, we'll have a good deer season. I love this time of year!
Yesterday, I rode my Kawasaki up to camp to check things out and mow the grass. We were fortunate that there was no damage from the storms two weeks ago...nothing more than a few branches down. The folks down along Pine Creek really got hit pretty hard...especially in the Slate Run, Cedar Run, Gamble Run, and Blackwell areas. The storm was confirmed as an F-1 tornado. I stopped to visit Sandy and Sue down at Petticote Junction. They made out pretty well in the storm. Going all the way up to camp and back on the same day makes for a long ride. Next time, I hope to stay overnight and enjoy some of the quiet and relaxation that only the mountains can provide.
We came up Mother's Day weekend for our annual Spring Camping Trip at Petticote Junction Campground. It was a nice weekend, but we experienced some really strange weather on Saturday. Several lightening/hail storms came through the area and we lost our RV awning. They have had 18" of rain up here since the beginning of March and there is a lot of water damage in the mountains. Several of the roads and trails are still closed. Route 414 in the narrows between Cedar Run and Blackwell is just barely passable. Fortunately, everything was ok up at camp. The trout fishing should be good throughout the summer. The streams were so high the first weekend of trout season that they really weren't fishable. They are still currently running very high. The trout should be spread out and there should be good fly fishing later in the spring and into summer. I'll probably come back up soon on my motorcycle.
I was hunting in Maryland on the last day of gun season last Saturday. At 4:55 pm, I got my first shot at a deer this entire season. It was a decent sized doe at about 70 yards. I held as steady as I could with the .50 caliber inline and fired. For the first time in many years, I missed completely. About 30 seconds later, I noticed a very large-bodied deer heading my way from the same direction the doe had just traveled. As I raised my binoculars, I noticed that the large deer was a nice racked buck...the first one I had seen the entire season. As he stood there at about 75 yards, totally oblivious to my location, all I could do was laugh as I held my just-emptied inline muzzle loader. Whoever says deer do not have a sense of humor, has obviously never tried to go hunting.