Monday is Valentine's Day for skunks too. I was strongly reminded of it when I scented their di"stink"tive calling card as I stepped onto my porch this morning to retrieve the paper.
So romance is in the air for wild creatures; coyotes are also on the prowl about now and wild turkeys are gobbling even in this zero weather.
Something to do
This weekend is the Pennsylvania Outdoor Times Hunting & Fishing Show at the Blair County Convention Center. I will be doing three spring turkey hunting seminars at the show. They are Friday at 6 p.m.; Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
These are not your grandfather's gobblers you will be hunting this spring. These are savvy gobblers that will be more apt to give you the cold shoulder than to come running when you begin hunting them this spring. I will be giving you some reasons for this condition and some tactics that may overcome them. I will also be talking about the new regulations for spring hunting this year and how to hunt for gobblers when you can hunt them all day.
This is the first year that Pennsylvania will allow spring gobblers to be hunted all day. Many southern states have been allowing that for years and I have hunted in states where you can hunt all day so I'll be sharing some tips for success in that venue.
Spring gobbler season opens April 30.
From opening day through the third Saturday, May 14, you may hunt gobblers from one half hour before sunrise until noon.
But from May 16 through the last day, May 31, you may hunt gobblers all day: from a half-hour before sunrise until one half hour after sunset. The youth spring gobbler hunt will be one half hour before sunrise until noon on April 23.
The extended hunting hours during the second half of the season presents some questions like
n What are turkeys doing during the middle part of the day?
n What about roosting time?
n How much do the gobblers respond to hen calls during the afternoon?
We'll talk about those things in my seminars. I'm also going to be setting up my one-man chair blind to show you and we'll talk about what benefits using such a blind offers. I used this blind last spring for the first time. I bagged a really nice gobbler from it last spring and then 2 deer from it this past deer season.
Do you really have much of a chance to bag a gobbler in the afternoon?
Some years ago, I was hunting in Texas for Rio Grand birds with Preston Pittman, the great champion caller and call manufacturer. We'd hunted gobblers in the morning but we headed in to the camp for the so-very-hot middle hours of the day. I had already bagged my gobblers so I decided to take my camera and go to spot by a pond for the afternoon in hopes of getting some photos. IN fact, that day, I took a shot that was later published in a national magazine.
Preston and his buddy from Mississippi, who was also hunting with us, decided to do some fishing in another pond and so we made plans for him to pick me up on the way back and then we'd all head out hunting again in the late afternoon.
About an hour after I settled in my chosen spot, I heard a gobbler sounding off about 200 yards away. This was in the day before cell phones so I had no way to contact Pittman to tell him what was happening. All I could do was to try to keep the bird gobbling without actually calling it in to me and wait for Preston to come along. So I would let out some soft yelps every 20 minutes or so and that bird would roar back.
It seemed an interminable time until Pittman finally came along in the vehicle to pick me up. I whispered to him about the bird across the way.
It only took about a minute for Preston to park that truck and throw on his hunting clothes and stuff the calls into a picket and he was off. That bird responded perfectly and in less than a half-hour, we were taking photos of Preston and his Texas Rio Grand gobbler.
So in my seminars, we will talk about all day hunting and a few tactics to fool tough, suspicious birds this spring. See you at the show.