This weeks blog post is from Jacob D., a Brookies Alumni! He writes about Flintlock Muzzleloader Season and its historic roots in Pennsylvania!
Every year in Pennsylvania just after Christmas, hunters who haven’t yet filled there deer tags get the opportunity to harvest a deer with a flintlock muzzleloader. There are many better firearms available for hunters today, but a couple hundred years ago it was the best firearm there was (especially those with rifling in the barrel).
There are many challenges that come with flintlock hunting. First, the range is limited. Depending on skill most hunters are limited to 50 yards. Muzzleloaders are also limited to one shot and reloading before a deer runs off is nearly impossible. Flintlock muzzleloaders have a slight delay between the ignition of the powder in the pan and the powder in the barrel. Misfires are common and the flash of burning powder causes many hunters (including myself) to flinch.
Most Pennsylvanian hunters agree that it is easier to hunt deer with fresh snow. This is also true for flintlock hunting. Snow makes deer easier to see, it’s easier to track them, and it’s easier to walk quietly. This year most of Pennsylvania is warmer than usual for flintlock season. Hunters will have to do without the advantages of snow at least until the cold weather returns.
Flintlock hunting is a great challenge for hunters in Pennsylvania. It requires patience, experience, and a certain amount of skill. White-tailed deer are wary animals. They will not be easily harvested. This is what makes them such a popular game animal. I hope that this old way of hunting them continues for years to come.