This year unlike other years I actually knew where some turkeys were roosting–in the woods very near my parent’s house of all places! So I simply slipped into the woods this morning at a little bit before 7 and by looking up into the trees found where they were roosting.
As daylight approached I watched the turkeys on the roost. They clucked some here and there which I responded to which generated curious looks at me from the turkeys. Eventually they started flying down and I got a got a clear shot at one.
After shooting, I saw the turkey go down then back up then down again. Comfortable I had the turkey I just froze and sat still. The other turkeys continued to fly down then grouped up then walked away calmly.
My first turkey ever and it was so easy! So many times other years I have had near encounters with turkeys, but some how just never got one.
In other news this was my first chance to go hunting with my Stevens Model 77 shotgun in 12 gauge. I picked it up at a flea market recently and repaired a crack in the stock in addition to refinishing it. It seems to be working pretty good now except for the action jams up a bit sometimes. Anyways, this turkey did not need a follow up shot so it worked out ok.
A good day of hunting today; I saw 5 turkeys, 6 grouse, and 2 deer. One of the deer was about a 4 point buck and would have given the nicest shot ever had it been an anlterless deer. The other deer I saw just before quitting time running away as I left the woods, I was not able to identify it. All of the grouse but one I saw when they flushed, the last one I saw before it flushed all puffed up with its tail fanned out.
I had two deer cross in front of me on the road on the way home in the truck. One was a small antlerless deer, but the other was a buck, a very very big buck, however, the ground where both of them were at is posted ground for a private hunting club.
Fall break ended for me today so its off to college tomorrow. Hopefully, I will make it home for a Friday evening and Saturday hunt before the season ends.
A pretty quiet last day except for a hen I heard yelping a few times. I tried yelping back at it in hopes of getting it worked up and possible trailing in a gobbler, but after a while it shut up.
In a separate hunting area that I have not been in since muzzleloader season I saw loads of deer tracks, one turkey track and a few raccoon tracks. That always was a great deer hunting spot!
Well, so ends Spring Turkey season. I never heard a single gobble the whole time and one of my old turkey hunting places that normally has at least a few gobbles seemed empty of turkeys. Perhaps the turkeys had a hard winter last year or maybe they just did not feel like gobbling this year. Well, there is always the fall!
No, I did not get a turkey today, but I did have a great hunt. I started this morning off shortly after 5:00 AM sitting under a tree. Then at about 5:30 AM I heard something plop to the ground five yards away from me. At first I did not think much of the sound since it sounded like a bird making droppings then I realized it made an awful big sound for a just song bird. So, I look up into the tree to convince myself nothing was up there. Sure enough there was nothing…wait a turkey sitting about 15 yards up! At first I could not believe I had randomly picked the same tree a turkey was roosted in. Whether the turkey had a beard or not I could not tell because of some leaves, but as it woke up it turned around on the branch revealing a chest devoid of a beard. I watched that hen for almost 1/2 hour before at around 6:00 AM it decided to fly down. Being my first up close experience with a turkey fly down I had a front row seat. Before fly down it never make any clucks or yelps instead it simply took a careful 360 degree survey of the surroundings twice. Once it jumped off the tree branch and begin flying it never flapped its wings making for a noiseless flight. Landing was also made quietly; way less noise than a squirrel might make jumping in some leaves. Where the turkey landed it was out of sight and I never saw it again nor did it make any more noise. Then I left to go home for breakfast at around 8:00 AM.
Later in the morning I returned to the general area with one of my younger brother’s. As we made our way to where we sat a deer moved out of the brush about 50 yards away. It was a buck with tines about as high as the ears and had a wide look to them instead of the straight up look full grown spikes have. The deer also had a radio collar on it, which is a first as far as I know in my area. It will be interesting this fall to see how this deer’s rack will grow. Identifying it should be easy since I would image it to the only deer in this area with a radio collar.
We ended the morning having never heard a single gobble, but with the image of the deer slowly picking its way through the woods in our minds.
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.
I took my flintlock out groundhog hunting today. It was a great day to go hunting; I saw two other hunters out on another hillside. When I was approaching a fence row a surprised groundhog ran to his hole and stood there looking at me. It presented a perfect shot and my pan flashed, but no boom. I re-primed and fired twice more and still could not make it go off. The groundhog grew wary of this game and went down into his hole. The lesson to be learned from this is that I should always swab my bore with rubbing alcohol followed with a dry patch instead of being lazy and just using a dry patch. This is because the oil that I put down the barrel when I fired it last must have still been in there so it dampened my powder. To finish my day I went to where I have a target set up and eventually got my gun to fire two more tries latter. 😀
While I was out hunting I also heard a turkey gobble once, so that is a positive sign for turkey season.
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.
Monday: Heard turkeys, but none showed interest in coming in.
Tuesday: Same thing as Monday, but different location.
Wednesday: Tried getting into the woods before first light. I woke up at 4:30 AM and got in the woods soon enough to see three pairs of deer eyes reflecting back the light from my flashlight. Heard a raccoon two different times that morning, but never I heard a turkey.
Saturday: Got up at 5:30 AM–when I arrived at my hunting location it was pretty light out. Heard one gobbler, but he seemed to have his mind made up as to where he was going. So, I paralleled him (he was good a 200 yards+ away) by going every 100 yards or so then setting up calling for a time then continuing on. Eventually I reached the edge of a field where a fairly close one gobbled, so I set up and called. Silence–then yelps from a cross the field. A few minutes later a shot was fired from the same direction. After that I waited around and called for a while, but never heard anything more.
Last Saturday, marked the beginning of fall turkey season. On that day, I managed to get into the woods while it was fairly dark. However, it might not have been quite dark enough, because as I was entering the woods near I was planning to hunt I spooked some large sized bird out of a tree. Whether it was a turkey or an owl I do not know, for it flew directly away from me, which caused trees to block my view of it.
After, I got settled in at the base of the tree, I tried out my slate and box call. After about an hour or so of hearing nothing I saw a squirrel, so I decided I might as well try for it. While it was sitting on a log about 50 yards away, I put the scope of my .22 magnum on it and fired. Then it jump off the log no worse for wear and hid. Soon, it reappeared and I tried another shot at it, this time though it was smarter and after scampering off it stayed hid.
Since, I had not heard any turkeys I decided to move on, after I checked for the squirrel just in case I hit it. On the other side of the woods, there there is a field so I move over there and sat awhile, but still heard nothing. Before I left for home, I walked to the end of the field and found two nice animal trails leading out of the woods to the corn in the field. As I was assessing the spot to see if I wanted to trap it, I saw that about where the trails intersected in the field, where two piles of fox manure. Not only were there two piles, but one looked a few days older that the other. Right now I have my traps set up close to my house, but once I get permission again this year to trap there, that will be a good place for a couple of sets.
The experiences of a hunter and trapper in Pennsylvania