This past Saturday was the start of the fall turkey hunting season in selected Wildlife Management Units (WMUs). As always, the season is closed in WMUs 5A, 5C and 5D due to low turkey numbers.
The seasons vary depending on WMUs. In WMUs, 1A, 1B, 4A, 4D and 4E, the season runs Oct. 29-Nov. 5; WMU 2B, Oct. 29-Nov. 18 and Nov. 23-25; WMUs 2A, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3D and 4C, Oct. 29-Nov. 12; WMU 2C, 2D and 2E it’s Oct. 29-Nov. 12 and Nov. 23-25; and lastly, WMU 5B, Nov. 1-3.
As in the past, the PGC reminds hunters that single-projectile firearms are not permitted, only shotguns and archery gear.
Unlike the spring gobbler season, the fall season allows the harvest of male and female turkeys and interestingly, females make up about 60 percent of the fall harvest.
According to the PGC, the season outlook is marginal as turkey populations in many WMUs were measured to be below the management goal. When this occurs, the PGC shortens the season length.
During the 2021 statewide fall harvest of 6,800 turkeys, this accounted for a 20 percent lower number than the 2020 harvest.
“The good news is that turkey reproduction in 2021 and 2022 was above average across many WMUs,” said Mary Jo Casalena, PGC wild turkey biologist, who adds that this results in large fall flocks.
To find the birds, Casalena says hunters should expect to find turkey brood flocks concentrated on available food sources such as areas with good acorn mast or agricultural areas.
Casalena reminds successful hunters to immediately tag their birds and report their harvest within 10 days. Mentored hunters under the age of 7 may receive, by transfer, a fall turkey tag supplied by their mentor.
There are two ways to report a harvest. Either send it in or phone it in by calling 800-838-4431 and follow the prompts. When doing so, hunters need to have their license and copy of the harvest tag in front of them when making the call. After which the PGC says hunters need to record the supplied information (confirmation) number for the turkey reported. And as with deer and bear harvests, hunters are asked to identify the WMU, county and township that the bird was taken.
And if harvesting a turkey with a leg band, hunters should follow the instructions on the band as the PGC leg-banded over 800 turkeys last winter in an effort to track turkey populations.
SALMON RIVER, NY UPDATE
For anglers planning a late trip to the Pulaski River in New York, my friend Tom Marchetto of Eason recently returned from there and provided this fishing report. Marchetto and two buddies spent their first day fishing at Ellis Cove on the river and several tributaries. The action was slow with only a few hook-ups and one King landed. The next day was on the lower part of the river (the Staircase) where the action was better especially around the Staircase Hole as it’s called. There, mostly Kings and a few Coho’s were hooked and two Kings were kept but no Coho’s landed. Fishing pressure was intense. Afterwards, heavy rain put a damper on fishing but when it stopped, fishing really improved to the point Marchetto said they played catch-and-release with Kings and they kept four Coho’s. All fish were caught on plastic eggs and flies, but neither dominated.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.