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Bob Zinn’s Account of the First Day of Rifle Season.

Pennsylvania, McKean County, Norwich Township, Forbidden Hollow

November 26, 2018

Joe and I left the cabin at 5:08AM and headed up the logging road along Indian Run from Norwich and toward the food plots located at the top of the mountain where the road splits off to the left toward Havens Run. At 5:20AM, Joe dropped me off ½- mile past the Gas Pad split and about a mile short of the food plots. I followed an established snow covered path for about ¼ mile to the West and hiked in toward what is now named Forbidden Hollow. During my short hike it started drizzle. They were calling for steady rain from 4AM until noon with winds blowing from the SSE.

I got to my spot at 5:30AM (N41 37.7717 W078 22.46771). I was a set of three hemlocks growing out of one trunk. It was located just below a 20 foot bluff that spanned the length of clear cut. I got my tree umbrella up and was sitting in a tree seat at ground level. My view was directly west. The Forbidden Creek was about 160 yards in front of me. On the other side of the creek was a slope up a ridge that would then go down to the creek of Forgotten Hollow. From my spot I could see about 250 yards to the west and had about a 160 degree view from left to right. I was settled in at 5:45AM. When heavier rains began.

I heard the first shot of the day at 6:53AM. At about 7:30AM I heard someone coughing about 100 yards behind my right shoulder to the NE. I I know he could see me and I heard him using his radio to call someone. The rains got heavier and the hunter was gone by 8:40AM.

At about 8:45AM I could see a deer about 250 yards west of me running along the other mountainside from left to right (north) and behind a stand of hemlocks. I did not see the deer come out the right side of the hemlocks. I could not tell if it was a doe or a buck.

At 9AM I communicated with Mark about my sighting. It was a steady rain now.

At about 10:15AM I leaned in my seat to my right and I could see a doe lying in the snow across the creek on the opposing mountain side facing me at about 250 yards. She was hidden in my normal sitting position by some trees. I watched her for about 30 minutes off and on by leaning to my right to get a view of her. At 10:55AM she was gone.

The rain slowed down to a steady drizzle. I scanned the mountain side for about 15 minutes until I spotted 2 deer moving to the right of the hemlocks and just above where the doe was lying. It took about another 5 minutes until I could see that one was a buck. They were about 240 yards away and very slowly making their way to the right and slightly down slope. The doe was keeping about 20 yards to his left and following him. They both were moving very slowly. At one point the buck was in clear sight and was facing me with his head down while foraging with his left hoof in the snow while looking for food. I turned up my Leopold scope to 9 power. I tried to hold a steady aim on him but was not steady enough at that distance while sitting in my tree chair. It was not a good shot to take. I got off the seat and went behind the tree I was sitting at and kneeled down on the ground placing my gun on the top rail of the seat and against the tree. This was much steadier position. The buck kept slowly moving to my right and appeared in and out of view behind trees. At times I could only see his hind quarters. Other times I could only see his head. It was now about 11:45AM and I followed him with my scope for another 8 minutes as he when in an out of view. About 15 yards to the right of the buck was more thick stuff and I would lose a chance to take a shot if he made it there.

At 11:53AM he exposed his shoulder. I aimed at the top his shoulder in anticipation that the bullet may drop a bit at that distance. I pulled off a shot. I lost sight of him with the shake of the gun blast. I could see the doe about 20 yards to the left of him. She was standing there looking to the right toward where the buck was standing. 5 minutes past and I still could not see the buck amongst the trees. Then while scanning the area, I saw him standing if full sight between two trees. He was standing at a quarter stance toward me and was looking right. I thought he was about 250 yards from my position so I decided to shoot high again at the top of his shoulder. I took a breath and pulled off a second shot. Again with the blast of the gun I lost sight of him. I heard the doe snort about 10 seconds after the shot and she darted beck up the mountain side and to the left. It was 11:59AM.

At Noon was another radio check-in. I told Mark that I had taken two shots at a buck but was unsure that I hit him.

I placed another two 30-06 rounds into my rifle’s magazine and gathered my deer sled, pen, knife and dressing gloves. Using my GPS I projected a waypoint in the direction of my shot at 250 yards. This would hopefully get me close to the spot. I started the walk at 12:15PM. The terrain was across the clear cut opening scattered with many logs and scattered with 2 foot new growth. I crossed the creek and started up the other mountain side and looked to my right and saw the 8-point buck lying motionless under a hemlock (N41 37.80735 W078 22.58868). He had dropped in place. His 8-points were evenly formed and were colored from a very dark brown at the base and brow tines to a light cream at the tip of the points. With the GPS, I initially calculated that my shot was 184 yards. This was later verified to be 197 yards. The 150 grain bullet hit the deer exactly where I was aiming and entered at the very top of his shoulder at the withers and traveled directly along his spine for about 18 inches and exiting. This made him drop instantly. I meditated for a few moments, then I took a few photos and short video and then dressed the deer. I secured him onto the sled and began the journey back toward my shooting spot where my other equipment are still located. He was soaking wet from the rain and dressed out at about 155 pounds. On the journey back, there were three spots where I was on my hands and knees pulling him across the Forbidden Creek and up that slope, and up two other steep areas. There were many fallen trees that I had to traverse in the clear-cut area and I finally got him near my shooting spot on a logging trail at about 2:45PM. I shuttled my gun and gear about 40 yards a head and would return to drag the deer to that point and beyond another 40 yards. The snow made it easier to pull, but it was an effort dragging him to the road where I was dropped off earlier in the morning. I got to the road at about 3:55PM and waited about an hour for Joe to bring the truck and help load the deer on the hitch rack.