I'll pass on all day turkey hunting

I never thought I would turn down an added opportunity to hunt longer and spend more time in the woods, but I am.

This spring, I won't hunt past noon during the final two weeks of the gobbler season.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is giving hunters that opportunity this year, by extending the hunting hours from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset during the final two weeks of the season (May 16-31).

All day gobbler hunting? Thanks but no thanks.

Why?

Well, it generally gets too hot to hunt later in the day during the second half of May, but that's not the main reason why I'm going to pass on all-day gobbler hunting.

I just don't want to be tramping through the woods all day during a time of year when hen turkeys are sitting on their nests.

The agency contends that the impact will be minimal because the all-day hunting only covers the last two weeks of the season. But they also said that all-day hunting will increase disturbance of nesting hens.

PGC wild turkey biologist Mary Jo Casalena, who I think is one of the top biologists in the agency, was quoted in a press release that when the all-day hunting rolls around in the second half of May, hunting pressure decreases and hens are less likely to abandon their nests if disturbed.

But the change to all-day hunting is being made to increase the opportunities for hunters to hunt, which if it works will increase pressure.

The only way I would consider hunting gobblers past noon is if the PGC could guarantee there would be no disturbance of nesting hens.

They can't, so I won't.

Slipping into the woods during the early morning and hunting until noon is plenty of time to bag a gobbler.

Sure, all day hunting will give children a chance to get out after school and adults time to hunt after work.

And while that may serve as a great convenience for us during the second half of May, it's also a critical time for hen turkeys and their nests.

It's not worth the risk, no matter how minimal it may be.

Categories: Pennsylvania – Tom Venesky, Turkey

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