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Old January 7, 2014, 07:29 PM   #1
Jack O'Conner
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Join Date: July 11, 2005
Location: Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,795
Flintlock hunting in Pennsylvania

Last Saturday my son-in-law and I drove up north to the Appalachian Mountains for flintlock deer hunting. It’s steep country with abundant hardwoods and vast tracts of public land. About 4 inches of snow covered the ground. We met up with nine other friends from church to hunt by organized drives. The guys drive and post the same places every year. Temperature was 0 degrees but I wasn’t cold at all due to adequate clothing and almost new Rocky insulated boots with liners.

My first post was a corner where a forest road turns to form a right angle. Less than 30 minutes on post two does crossed the road in front of me but were moving in high gear. One circled back toward me but I couldn’t get a shot due to the animal’s bounds and speed. Dan got a shot at about 35 yards but missed. I was a driver for next hunt. We switched off to make it even.

We headed back to the cabin for lunch and to warm up some. More plans were laid out for the afternoon drives. This time I was on post about 45 minutes when I heard several shots fired. A herd of deer crossed between me and the next post. I’d estimate that 12 deer were within this bunch. I swiftly moved closer and knelt down in the snow. Before long a big doe came straight at me and I fired when the sights looked right. It was a facing shot at about 25 yards in thick brush. The doe lurched sideways at the shot but bounded away through the cloud of smoke. No blood was observed. I followed the tracks for about half hour but did not find blood. It was a miss! The other guys missed also. Shucks.

I was a driver for the next two drives and still more shots were fired but no animals were hit or downed. For the last drive I was posted along the edge of a field but didn’t see or hear anything. In summary, I had fun with the guys but I truly do not care for this style of hunting very much. The animals were always on the fast move and shots were rushed. I should also mention that these primitive ignition rifles with iron sights are less than ideal compared to a scoped 30-30 carbine. During the group hunts: 34 deer were sighted, 10 shots were fired and no deer were taken! But my guess is that results would’ve been much better with modern rifles.

I bought the Rocky boots off eBay for less than $50.; the seller advertised that he’d only worn them twice because sized too big for his feet. But I wore wool socks and they fit me perfectly! They’re not heavy like Sorels although same basic features were noted. Lightweight liners are crafted from modern materials.

Fire up the grill! Deer hunting IS NOT catch and release.
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Old January 7, 2014, 10:26 PM   #2
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Join Date: March 11, 2010
Location: South East Pa.
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Once and a while I will run down to Bucks County during the extended doe season. I was there last year and the Amish put on a drive right through there. Not a half hour later I saw a deer wander through. It is thick with saplings, boulders, and down trees. I never got a shot but heard others shoot nearby once and a while. Nobody got one that I know of, but a lot of guys in the parking area at the end of the day said they missed sneaking deer. It is so thick in there I bet there are deer that have been shot at 5-6 during the season. That is a shotgun area. Just because the deer are sneaking slowly along does not make them an easy target. Most of the time you can't tell if it is a legal deer. I think you would have to burn the place to get some of those deer out of there.
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Old January 8, 2014, 03:46 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 1,334
Those rock locks can be tough to shoot well. Even a well tuned lock with a sharp flint has a longer lock time than a modern rifle. They can be fired very accurately, though. A guy I knew had a target in his shop he was very proud of - 75 yd offhand and 5 in about 3/4". When I complimented him on his shooting, he said, "Yep, that got me second place."
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