While PA Spring Turkey has been in for a little over a week now due to finishing up with the last little bit of this semester’s college work I have not been out any, until today.
After hunting up my mouth call in the refrigerator I made it into the woods this morning around 6:30 AM not exactly before dawn, but hey I was in the woods! The other day I read a turkey hunting story in the Pennsylvania Game News where the guy used the call, listen, then walk technique to locate a gobbler. Not knowing where any particular gobblers where at I decided to follow suit.
Shortly after starting into the woods some movement of a furry body caught my eyes further looking revealed a raccoon! We stared at each other for a while then he ducked down into a hole. The hole, which is right on the line between woods and field, looks a lot like a old groundhog hole. I will have to remember that spot for trapping season. It is not legal to “set traps within five feet of a hole or den, except for underwater sets” (PGC Hunting Digest ), so I can not set a trap right next to the hole, but I can set a trap in that general area.
After watching the raccoon for a while I continued on, going nice and slow. After about two hours of creeping along and not hearing anything I found small semi enclosed field area where I set up a decoy and waited for a while. I stayed there until about 10:0 Am, but never heard a single gobble.
This Saturday will mark the start of Pennsylvania’s Spring Gobbler Season. It will run from May 1st to 31st during the hours of one-half hour before sunrise until noon. No fluorescent orange is required during this season, but PLEASE for my sake, your sake, and for the sake of the ones around you identify your target completely before you shoot. I would also strongly suggest putting on an orange hat when moving, because you never know when you might the in the background of someones sight picture. Also it would be a good idea to put out your orange hat on a tree or use a orange tree band while sitting.
Below are some quotations from the 2009 /2010 PA Hunting Digest.
Spring Gobbler Season:
Statewide. Only turkeys with visible beards are legal. Hunting by calling
only—no stalking—one-half hour before sunrise until noon. Hunters
are asked to be out of the woods by 1 p.m.
Spring Gobbler Season: May 1 – 31, 2010
In both spring and fall seasons, it is unlawful to possess or use live tur-
keys as decoys, or to drive or use electronic callers or devices. Dogs can
be used to hunt turkeys during the fall season but not during the spring.
Blinds: The use of turkey blinds is legal under the following definition:
Any artificial or manufactured turkey blind consisting of all man-made
materials of sufficient density to block the detection of movement within
the blind from an observer outside the blind. Artificial or manufactured
turkey blinds consisting of all man-made materials means blinds must be
constructed of plastic, nylon, canvas, cotton cloth, plywood or other man-
made materials. Blinds made by piling rocks, logs, branches, etc. are
unlawful. The blind must completely enclose the hunter on all four sides
and from above to block the detection of movement within the blind.
When fluorescent orange is required at a stationary calling location in
fall seasons, at least 100 square inches must be displayed outside the
blind and within 15 feet of the blind, visible 360 degrees.
Arms & Ammunition:
Spring Gobbler Season: 1) Manually operated and autoload-
ing shotguns limited to a 3-shell capacity in the chamber and
magazine combined; 2) Muzzleloading shotguns of all types
and gauges; 3) Long, recurve, compound bows or crossbows
with cutting-edge broadheads.
Fine shot no larger than No. 4 lead, bismuth-tin and tung-
sten-iron, or No. 2 steel. Rifle/shotgun combination guns may
be used if ammunition is limited to shotgun shells. Carrying or
using single projectile ammunition, rifles or handguns is un-
Tagging, Reporting Requirements:
Successful turkey hunters must follow all instructions printed
on tags supplied with licenses. Separate tags are provided for
fall and spring seasons. The turkey must be tagged immedi-
ately after harvest and before the carcass is moved. The tag
must be securely attached to a leg until the bird is prepared for
consumption or mounting. Once you have used your tag it is
unlawful to possess it in the field. Also, please remember to
remove your old hunting license from the holder before you
place your current license in the holder. If you keep your old
licenses with you while hunting you may accidentally use a
tag from a previous year to tag your turkey and unwittingly
violate the law.
Turkey hunters must report harvests to the PGC in Harris-
burg within 10 days, online at the Game Commission’s website
www. pgc.state.pa.us, or using a postage-paid report card
supplied in this Digest. In addition to other information, hunt-
ers are asked to identify the WMU where the bird was taken.
For more details, see the “Tagging, Transporting & Report-
ing” section under “Big Game Regulations” in this Digest.
Finally I saw a turkey while I was out hunting today, two turkeys actually. However, to my dismay they were both hens. It did not matter to some extent what the were though, because I saw them right after I stepped out of the car so I would not have been allowed by PA law to shoot a gobbler since I was still to close to my car. At any rate they spooked and took off running towards the patch of woods that I had planned to hunt. So, I continued to set up on the very edge of the woods a little away from where they had diapered, but never saw or heard them again. With the exception of what sounded like a very distant gobble I never heard anything from that spot.
Later in the morning at about 11:00 I decided to slowly move calling every now and then in an attempt to locate a gobbler I could try calling in. After going about 50 yards I made my first call since I left were I had been set up. My call was answered with a distant gobble that came from much deeper into the woods. I proceeded to set up at a near-by location that offered a big tree to put my back against and fairly good visibility. After about an hour and half when I called I got an answering gobble more to the left, but closer than before. However, noon came bringing quitting time without hearing or seeing anything of the gobbler.
Turkey season is close to halfway over and I still have not seen a turkey, but I have heard more gobbles this season than any other though.
This morning I went out hunting from 10:00 to 12:00. However, I never heard anything.
Turkey season is now over, but I had a very good last day. On the morning of the last day, I walked into the woods on an ATV trail to a spot near the area where I had spent the last Saturday hunting. After almost reaching the field, I set up next to the ATV tail. Because of the short ranges of the open areas near by me, I decided not to set up my decoy.
Around 7:30 am I heard a gobble about 200 yards away, so I answered him with my mouth call. Then the next time he gobbled he sounded a little closer. As before I answered him, but when I did I heard some other sound, but it did not register in my mind what it was. Then another gobble sounded out and as I answered I heard that sound again — it was a hen, but it was between me and the gobbler! I remembered how that some times if you copy a hen it will get worked up so much that it will come in to try to find you, some times towing the gobbler in behind it. So I start calling doing just what the hen did. This cared on for quite awhile, and as time went on I started thinking how much the hen sounded like another hunter using a box call. That thought worried me, because if it was another hunter, we were probably both over calling which would scare the gobbler away. After thinking that, I quit calling and so did the hen. Awhile later I started hearing the sounds of something walking in the woods, soon two turkeys appeared. The combination of 50 yards and the thick woods made it impossible to tell if either of the turkeys had beards. A few clucks from my mouth call made the lead turkey stop in its tracks and stare me down for a minute of two, after which it just mozied on, not paying any more attention to me. They proceeded to walk past me and go behind me purring as they went
A good while after the turkeys were gone I decided to walk in the direction of were I had heard a faint gobble, I set up but never heard anything more. After walking in a big circle I came back to where had I started out in the morning. Instead of having some one pick me up in a car, I decided that with a half hour left till noon and the end of turkey season I might as well walk home. On my very hot walk (1 mile+) home I jumped one deer in the edge of the woods by a field, I did not see if it was growing any antlers or not.
Spring turkey season is now over, but I look forwards to next year with more knowledge on hunting them.
Well, I Finally saw a turkey last Saturday, but before I get to that allow me explain the cat picture. This is Coconut my cat, She is a great mouse and chipmunk hunter, but most of the time She just hunts the food in her dish. But last Saturday morning She decided to take up bigger game — turkeys.
When I exited my house on Saturday morning and started into some woods where Coconut met me. I reached down and gave her head a quick scratch, but as I walked on she started following me. All the way though the patch of woods and through a field to a pine tree which I set up under. Coconut sat down on opposite side of the tree, and stayed there with me the whole time through all the rain. I did at least hear a few gobbles, but they were way out in the distance.
After going back to the house and eating breakfast and getting dried out, I went back out (minus my furry friend) to the area were I thought the gobbles might have been coming from. As I was walking through a swampy area (not more than 100 yards away from where I got my Grey fox) a turkey suddenly jumped up just three steps away from me and flew off. Of course it made sure to keep its body facing away from me so as to not allow me to identify whether or not it had a beard. Looking down I saw a nest with about nine or so speckled eggs in it. Since there was no reason to try calling the turkey in after seeing the nest I moved on to the next hilltop.
Despite the fact that I did not get to see a gobbler, I had an excellent hunting day. It was the first time I have ever seen a wild turkey nest before, and it had to be the closest I have ever been to a live wild turkey before too.
Today I went out hunting again in the field above where the hen is nesting (I figure there has to be a tom around there some where), but I never heard anything. Maybe today was just one of those days when they just do not gobble any.
The other day I was watching a video of turkey hunting and I kept seeing the people in the video using a box call. So, I got to thinking that it would be kind of nice if I had one of those to go hunting with. After looking on eBay for awhile I got discouraged at how much money some of the calls were costing. Then I noticed that some of those guys on there were selling calls that they had made themselves. Then the thought struck me, that I do not need to buy a box call, all I needed to do was make my own.
Googling how to build a box call I found customsawing.com that sells wooden kits for making calls for $25. Well, the whole idea of building my own call was to not be spending money so the kit was not for me, but the plans for building the kit they have posted on their web site are very exact and easy to follow. To substitute for the wood in the kits I cut up an old oak skid which I got for free.
After messing around with a band saw, router, and hand saw for a few days trying to downsize the width of the wood to the proper size, I finally figured out that a wood jointer was the best available tool for the job. Next, I copied the shape of each of the parts from the plans to the wood, then cut them out on the band saw. After some sanding I glued the parts together. I bought some chalk at Wal-Mart, chalked the call up, then tried it out. At first it made horrible high pitched sounds, but then after sanding down the sides down like the plans say to I now have it sounding pretty close to what it should be. Not counting the time I spent sanding the sides down it took me a little less than a week working every afternoon on it to build the call.
Hopefully with turkey season coming up this Saturday I can find some turkeys to test the call out on!
Box call assembly directions from customsawing.com
Double sided box call plans from customsawing.com.
Now that the fur season is over, it is time to start looking forwards to the next hunting season which Spring Turkey.
For three days now I have been seeing a small flock of turkeys. There seems to be one bearded bird and four to five hens in the flock.