Outdoors: Turkey opportunities abound this spring | Outdoors

As storms continue to circle and weather permits, turkey hunters will be gobbling up another spring day out for drumsticks.

The regular season continues through Tuesday, May 31.

If you think this season isn’t a big moment for big-bird hunters, you are just a turkey.

More than 150,000 hunters take to forests and fields each spring to chase these birds.

Opportunities abound. Game Commission turkey biologist Mary Jo Casalena said the statewide flock is likely bigger right now than at any time in the last few years. Plentiful in some spots, but no easy get. Neither jakes nor older birds typically are as vocal as 2-year-olds.

Only bearded birds may be harvested in the spring season.

When it comes to talking turkey, practice helps. Hunters may only call turkeys in the spring gobbler season.

Success is fickle. About 18 percent of the near-record 25,210 people who bought a special spring turkey license, or second gobbler tag, took a second in 2021.

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Hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. The all-day season allows more opportunity at the point in the season when hunting pressure is lower and nesting hens are less likely to abandon nests.

Regulations on the way

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission awarded Boating Facility Grants to three projects in the Susquehanna River watershed. Funds are derived primarily from boat registration fees, state motorboat fuels tax, and restricted revenue accounts, if applicable. In certain instances, federal aid is also used, if appropriate.

South Middleton Township received a grant for Children’s Lake Boat Launch Parking Improvements in Boiling Springs.

Also, at the recent meeting of the PFBC board of commissioners, they gave preliminary approval to establishing a process for authorizing the stocking of fish in the Commonwealth.

To properly manage and protect the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources against the risks of aquatic invasive species and pathogens being introduced by stocking with fish purchased from commercial fish producers and dealers, there is a need to ensure that all proposed stockings of fish into waters of the Commonwealth are reviewed, considered for their ecological risk, and where appropriate, authorized for stocking.

As such, the commission has established a stocking authorization application and review system, including fish health requirements.

Over 30 states have requirements (stocking authorizations or regulations) for determining how and when fish are stocked in state waters, including all states in the Northeast. But not Pennsylvania.

In other business, the board wasn’t ready to pull the trigger on a trio of bowfishing regulations.

Proposals would prohibit bow fishing on any special regulation trout waters; make it unlawful to cast direct rays of a spotlight, mounted headlight, or any other artificial light of any kind from any watercraft upon any occupied building, or another watercraft; and limit noise from generators used aboard a boat while bow fishing to no more than 90 dB(a), which is consistent with regulations for noise produced by motorboats.

In measuring noise emissions, the test measurement will be made with the sound level meter at a distance of at least four feet above the water at a point where the transom gunwale and the port or starboard gunwale intersects.

The bowfishing measures were tabled until a meeting of the Law Enforcement Committee, to be scheduled later.

Outdoors notes

  • Pennsylvania’s first recreational boating fatality of 2022 is a 68-year-old man who fell overboard from a 14-foot open motorboat while fishing on Swatara Creek, in Dauphin County. He died in the evening of May 4 and was not wearing a life jacket.
  • While there are an estimated 15 million red cardinals across the U.S., experts say there are only 10-15 yellow cardinals in North America. Have you seen one?
  • Only turtles know why they cross the roads. But when you catch them doing it and you want to help by carrying them across, be sure to point them in the same direction they were headed.

Send your wild thoughts, fish tales and photos to [email protected]

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