Category Archives: Deer Hunting

What to do when you have a mistake kill?

Ever since since the antler restrictions went into effect the fear I have always heard is what if? What if I don’t see the antlers? What if I miss-count the points? That what if question has resulted in the many dead deer I have found in the woods over the years that were too small or in one case the side of the rack that was up was too small, but the side buried under the leaves was legal. It is a waste.

Well, this past rifle season that “what if” happened to me. I was doing a drive for some of my family when I saw a deer about 100 yards away standing. Knowing it would soon bolt I quickly checked for antlers and saw none. I fired and it went down on the spot. Walking up to it though I discovered that it was actually a small buck…oh dear.

Any person who kills any wildlife while hunting or trapping or by accident or mistake shall immediately field-dress any edible game and deliver the carcass to a Game Commission officer in the county where it was killed…. (General Hunting regulations 2016-2017 edition)

It goes on to explain the process to tag the deer and so on. Well, I followed the process to the best of my understanding. I was a bit confused about which tag I should put on. My logic was I should put on the tag for the animal that I thought it was and in the end that seemed to be the correct choice after having talked with the Game Commission officer.

On to that. I called my regional office and told them I had a mistake kill to report. They took down my name, address, and phone number and said I would be contacted by the officer. A couple of hours later he called me and arranged to meet me in a parking lot. On the phone he assured me that I was not a criminal.

Again when I met the officer he assured me that I was not a criminal. Understandable so people probably are probably often worried about what will happen now. It was good to have him reassure me and see that he was being friendly and not angry with me.

After some paper work and a statement that I wrote basically saying I saw the deer, thought it was a doe, shot it, tagged it, and then called the regional office the officer wrote me a replacement tag. He took the deer and put it on his hitch haul rack and told me he had a family of 10 lined up that he though could use the deer.

I was happy. My deer did not go to waste. I did right thing and was not punished for doing the right thing. I did have to pay a $25 restitution fee which is not considered a fine, but rather part of the replacement value for the deer (the officer said the real value was way higher).

People I have heard have always been worried about the possibility of a big fine for mistake kills. Maybe there are officers out there that not so kind, but in my experience the officer in Armstrong county is a decent and understanding guy. As he told me the real criminals are the people who leave their mistake kill laying in the woods.

Be responsible and take care of your mistake kill. Sacrifice the time out of the season and pay the restitution. Someone will use the meat and it will not go to waste.

2015 Rifle Season

Well, I had a great rifle season this year. I shot a buck up by Watersonville then a few days later I shot a doe there as well.

buck_2015When I shot the buck I was approaching a gully where I often see deer on the other side. I heard something coming from behind me so I turned around and saw a buck trotting along about 50 to 75 yards away. With a quick look for points I found 3-points on one side to make it legal then I shot with my 30-06. Its tail dropped and it ran off. There wasn’t any snow, but I was able to track it by the ruffled leaves and spots of blood here and there. My brother saw it then my father got to shoot at it and miss. Then I had a quartering away shot and tried for its head twice, but only hit once. It would go for a distance then lay down until you jumped it again. Finally, just before dark my brother was able to shoot it in the neck and finish it off. My initial shot had been more of a gut shot which was why it had been so much trouble. Unfortunately, it was not as much of a fast clean kill as you would hope for.

doe_2016On the flip side my doe only took one shot and dropped on the spot. I was watching a little ways up the road from where I had shot my buck a few days later with one of my friends. Then as evening came I saw two does come running in the woods about 100 yards away. I was sitting up against a tree so I had a good stead aim and after checking to make sure there were not antlers I shot with my 30-06. The doe instantly fell where it stood.

I had a good season. I never expect to fill my buck tag anymore with the antler restrictions, but I’ve been blessed with a buck two years in a row now.

End Of Flintlock Season

Well, I went all flintlock season without getting a deer. I did see some anyways. Last Saturday I had a doe run within 10 yards of me. I tried to fire, but the pan flashed without setting the gun off. I re-primed and fired into the hill side and then it went off fine. I suspect the foggy air may have had something to do with it. I’ve heard people say that changing the pan powder in wet weather is a good practice–I probably should have been more careful to follow that advice.

2012 Rifle Deer Season Conclusion

I had fun doe hunting on my week of vacation. The first Saturday both my Father and one of my brothers got antlerless deer. On Tuesday another one of my brothers shot a deer.

I saw a few deer here and there, but except for the first Saturday none of the deer gave me a shot.

While I was figuring out where different PA gamelands where at on Google Earth I got the idea to overlay the gameland maps from the PGC’s website. It worked out pretty well. There is supposed to be a way to export the overlays so I’ll have to post them up here sometime. I only focused on game lands in Armstrong county, but someone else might find them useful.

Rifle Season For Deer 2012

Well I’m missing out on the first days of buck season back in WMU 2D. That’s life I guess though. The great thing is I have the whole week of doe season off from work. So that is a pleasant change from the past couple of years where I had to work deer season around college finals and weekends.

I’ve seen deer for the past two days driving to and from work down here in Washington county, PA. The first morning it was a doe running across a field. Tonight I saw four or five out in a field. I’ll have to do some hunting down here in the flintlock season after Christmas.

Last Day of 2012 Fall Muzzleloader Season

Well, last Saturday I spent most of the day in the woods hunting the last day of the October Muzzleloader season here in Pennsylvania.

In the morning I saw a small buck. In the afternoon I jumped a deer in some brush, but could not get a good look at in. Then when I was driving home after dark I saw three does in a field not to far from where I had been hunting.

Despite the rain on Saturday when I fired my gun on Sunday it went off quite nicely. I give credit to the poor-man’s cow’s-knee a zip-lock plastic back over my lock. It worked.

October Muzzleloader Season

Last Saturday I had a fun opener for the October Muzzleloader season.

I spooked two deer in the morning as I was walking into a field. They were in the woods before I got a chance to really look at them though.

Later in the day I hunted a wooded area that had been mined in the past leaving behind hills and ravines. Later in the afternoon as I walk down to a ravine I saw a deer standing broadside to me at about 100 yards on the opposite side. It was just far enough away that I could not quite make out its head for sure, so it ended up running away before I got a shot at it.

Rut Starting

Here in Washington county where I live now the rut must be just coming in.

Today driving into work I saw a nice buck. I also saw three does in the parking lot at work. Then tonight I saw two more bucks. I see a few deer from time to time, but the high number of bucks is unusual.

Muzzleloader season begins this Saturday even though it is antlerless only I’m looking forwards to it.

8th Day Of Pennsylvania Flintlock Muzzleloader Season

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A local produce farmer gave me permission to hunt out of his tree-stand. He said that often an eight point and a few does had been seen in that area.

So, that evening I went to his tree-stand for an evening hunt at around 3:30pm. It was cold up there in the tree-stand. I was facing west and there was a snow storm pelting me with snow in my face. Typically I do not use heat packs such as Heat Max Hand Warmers, but my hands were getting so numb that I was afraid I would have trouble getting out of the tree stand. So, I opened up a foot warmer that I had. Some of the foot heat packs are the same as the hand heat packs so if one is on sale it makes no difference to me. It warmed my hands up nice and allowed me to stay in the stand until evening. However, I never saw any deer. The farmer told me later that it was unusual not to see any deer from that stand. Maybe they were waiting the storm out.

Backpacker.com has a tip that might be useful if you were hunting in a tree stand and hand numb hands, but no heat pack. This article says to “Briskly rotate your arms windmill-style, and quickly swing each leg forward and back.” Its probably going to scare the deer away, but it would be better then losing a finger or falling when you climb down.