Wild turkeys are strutting and gobbling already and I'm getting reports of flocks seen here and there.
Turkeys are very hardy birds and this winter has not been too hard on them. Probably can't say the same for deer.
So winter-weary spring gobbler hunters are getting ready for the season. One important way to do that is to spend some time thinking about the tricks the turkeys have played on you the past couple years and what you can do this spring to get the upper hand in those situations this year.
Have you noticed how reluctant gobblers are to come to your calling? Have you heard a gobbler or two at dawn, who may even have answered your calls a time or two, but then fell silent? Did you sit there for an hour, calling every now and then but getting no answer, only to finally give up and decide to move on and try to locate a more willing bird? And when you stood up, the gobbler spooked from just a few yards away?
I'll be doing several seminars at the Jaffa outdoor show this year and will be addressing exactly those, and more, exasperating situations.
My hunting buddy that I mentioned last week will be joining me there. I told you how expert a caller she is and you'll have the chance to hear her demonstrate the most used calls for the spring hunter.
The show is Feb. 22-24. Friday's show runs from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday runs from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and on?Sunday, it's 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Joanie Haidle and I are scheduled for one seminar Friday at 7:30 p.m. and two on Saturday at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The Turkey calling contest - also known as the "Allegheny Mountain Classic," a sanctioned National Wild Turkey Federation event, will begin a 1:30 p.m.
There is quite an impressive array of speakers that will grace the show's dais. Alan Probst from "Wild Pennsylvania" - which appears on the Pursuit Channel and Sportsman Channel - will talk trapping and why it is an important part of wildlife conservation.
Goey Hunting calls - a Pennsylvania based company - will be teaching the basics of duck and goose calling. Tim Flanigan will offer outdoor photography tips, there's the Shavers Creek raptor show and there is "Bwana Jim's Wildlife Show," which is great for the kids!
Denny Conlin, from the Bellwood Beagle Club, will talk rabbit hunting. Abner Druckenmiller, one of the hosts from FoxPro Furtakers on the Outdoor Channel, will be there, too. His seminar is "Becoming the Ultimate Predator Hunter."
The National Rifle Association will have people on tap holding seminars each day on the 2nd Amendment. They will be at the JnD Gun sales booth.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission will have two main seminars at the Sports Show this year. The first will be on Saturday, Feb. 23, by PGC Wildlife Veterinarian Walter Cottrell. Dr. Cottrell will hold a seminar on CWD, a high-priority concern for the state's deer hunters and deer population.
The second will be on Sunday, Feb. 24. This seminar will be held by PGC Wildlife Biologist Mary Jo Casalena. She'll discuss her hen turkey study that she has been conducting over the past few years. This will be an interesting seminar which explains how they estimate female wild turkey harvest rates, determine fall hunter participation and hunter harvest throughout the season, along with hunter satisfaction via a turkey hunter survey after each fall season. They also determine the effect of changing season length on harvest rates of hens to more effectively establish fall hunting seasons.
Mary Jo will explain the procedures in conducting this study and much more. You won't want to miss this one, Casalena is most knowledgeable about the state's turkey management procedures.
Barnes Puppy Love Kennels will offer Retriever training seminars. Don Ott of Duncansville will conduct a seminar on how to properly fit a bow for youth shooters. This is a really important seminar to attend, especially if you have a youngster who is going to start bow hunting this fall.
One of the biggest mistakes many folks make with beginners is to just hand them some left-over bow or borrow one from somebody for them to learn. They don't fit the young shooter, the draw length is all wrong, usually too long, for the youngster, and he winds up having a lot of difficulties that he shouldn't have to endure.
The right equipment is so vital for every archer but especially, I think, for young shooters.
So the show sounds exciting and I'm anxious to meet and talk with as many of you as possible. See you there!