There will be lots of clucks, yulps and gobbles emanating from Penn’s Woods on Saturday, April 27, when the spring turkey season opens statewide.
According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), there is a turkey population of about 215,000 to 225,00 turkeys in the state. Last year, an estimated 174,500 hunters pursued them and took 40,303 of them. This was up from 38,101 in 2017. The PGC claims it set the highest hunter success rate in years. And this years forecast looks promising despite a low fall turkey harvest and a rainy spring season in 2018.
“The spring rains last year and well below-average temperatures hampered poult survival in some areas of the state,” said Mary Jo Casalena, PGC wild turkey biologist. “Lets hope weather conditions are more agreeable in coming weeks and more hunters have the time to find and take gobblers,” she added.
Casalena explained that the overall turkey population is slowly increasing from its most recent low of 192,612 in 2010, with increases in the one-and-two-year age classes.
Last year, a record 20,925 hunters bought second gobbler tags. And their success rate was the best ever 65 percent, says the PGC. But second turkey tag holders accounted for only 10 percent of the overall spring harvest.
If desiring a second gobbler tag, you better get it before Apr. 27 as it’s too late to purchase after that.
Spring gobbler hunting hours begin one-half hour before sunrise and end at noon for the first two weeks of the statewide season (Apr. 27-May 11). Hunters are asked to be out of the woods by 1 p.m. to minimize disturbing nesting hens. Then from May 13-May 31, hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.
For those hunting in blinds, the PGC reminds hunters that blinds must completely enclose the hunter on all four sides and from above. It’s unlawful to hunt turkeys from blinds made of natural materials such as logs, tree branches and piled rocks. And blinds that represent the fanned tail of a gobbler do not hide all hunter movement and are unlawful to use in Pennsylvania.
Another reminder for turkey hunters is that ticks will be lurking everywhere. And with many hunters sitting on the ground in front of a tree, that makes you especially susceptible to having a deer tick or two crawling on you. So spray a good tick repellent all over your outer garments, boots and hat.
ANNUAL LEHIGH PARKWAY FISHING DERBY
Although the City of Allentown’s “Adventure Allentown” magazine lists the Annual Fishing Derby, held in a stretch of the Little Lehigh Creek in Lehigh Parkway, is advertised for May 11, 2019. However, it has been cancelled said Herb Gottschall, president of Lehigh County Fish & Game Protective Association who hosts the derby.
According to Gottschall, the derby has been cancelled because the City of Allentown changed the rules. Gottschall said participants can no longer camp out in the park the night before, no tents will be allowed, no open grills and no admittance before 5 a.m. derby day.
“The derby has been held for 86 consecutive years in the parkway, and we never had a problem until now,” Gottschall explained.
The city contends that the aforementioned stipulations were never enforced but should have been. In a letter to Gottschall from Karen El-Chaar, Director of Parks and Recreation for the city, she wrote that they’ll see if it’s possible to grandfather the derby for next year, as it’s the organizations 100th year anniversary and Gottschall said he would like it to be a memorable one for derby participants and the city alike.
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.