….Pennsylvania’s Spring gobbler season starts Saturday…..Details released about car/turkey collision in McKean County….


Pennsylvania’s Spring Gobbler season opens Saturday. The state’s summer turkey reproduction was excellent that year according to officials.  The Game Commission’s summer turkey sighting survey, conducted statewide with the help of the public, revealed 3.1 poults – or young turkeys – per hen, on average. That was the highest in recent years. Those males from 2021 are now out in the woods ready to strut their stuff, literally, in the competition to mate.

About 172,000 people, on average, hunt spring turkeys in Pennsylvania every year.

Turkey abundance varies across the state and preseason scouting to locate these vocal toms could be the key to your hunt

As for the regular season opening Satuday, hunting hours begin one-half hour before sunrise and end at noon for the first two weeks of the statewide season (April 29 through May 13). Hunters are asked to be out of the woods by 1 p.m. then. This is to minimize disturbance of nesting hens.

From May 15 through May 30, hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. The all-day season allows more opportunity at the point in the season when hunting pressure is lower and nesting hens are less likely to abandon nests.

During the spring gobbler season, hunters may use manually operated or semiautomatic shotguns limited to a three-shell capacity in the chamber and magazine combined. Muzzleloading shotguns, crossbows and long, recurve and compound bows also are permitted.

Only bearded birds may be harvested during the spring season. Hunters should refrain from knowingly harvesting bearded hens because they do nest and raise broods. There is no requirement for hunters to wear fluorescent orange during the spring turkey season, though wearing it is recommended while moving.Blinds used while turkey hunting must be manufactured with manmade materials of sufficient density to block movement within the blind from an observer outside the blind. Blinds must completely enclose the hunter on all four sides and from above. It is unlawful to hunt turkeys from blinds made of natural materials such as logs, tree branches and piled rocks.

Blinds that represent the fanned tail of a gobbler do not hide all hunter movement and are unsafe, and therefore are unlawful to use in Pennsylvania.

Hunters may pursue spring gobblers only by calling birds. It is unlawful, as well as unsafe, to stalk turkeys or turkey sounds.

For safety, turkey hunters should not wear clothing that contains black, like the color found on a turkey’s body, or red, white or blue, like those on a turkey’s head.

For more information on spring turkey hunting rules and regulations, pertaining to the youth or regular hunts, check the 2022-23 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, which is provided with a hunting license and is available online at www.pgc.pa.gov.

Successful turkey hunters must immediately tag their bird before moving it from the harvest site and are required by law to report the harvest to the Game Commission within 10 days

Hunters can report turkeys in three ways: online by visiting www.pgc.pa.gov and clicking the “Report a Harvest” button near the top of the home page, or going directly to HuntFishPA.gov; by calling 1-800-838-4431; or by filling out and mailing the harvest report card in the digest hunters get when they buy a license.

The public is also asked to report any turkeys harvested or found with leg bands or radio transmitters. Not only does the reporter learn when and approximately where the bird was trapped, but the information received on those birds – which are legal to take – helps estimate spring harvest rate and annual survival rate by Wildlife Management Unit, Those are critical pieces of data for the state’s turkey population model. What’s more, the radioed turkeys are part of ongoing research studies.

Leg bands feature a toll-free number or email address for reporting. New this year is a website address for people to immediately report and receive the information of when and where the bird was banded.

McKean County

As we just reported, Pennsylvania’s turkey season  starts tomorrow and state police at Lewis Run have just released details about a car/turkey collision  occurring April 10 in Lafayette Township. Troopers report Shannon Asp of Kane was going north just before 8:00 am when a turkey flew onto the road from the western shoulder and struck windshield on Asp’s 2019 Toyota Camry causing disabling damage.  She was not hurt.

Avian influenza

Hunters should be aware of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus, which turns up occasionally in turkeys in Pennsylvania.

HPAI is a disease that can infect domestic and wild birds. To date, there has been one isolated case of HPAI infection in a wild turkey in Pennsylvania, from last September. HPAI can also infect humans, though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers it primarily an animal health issue that poses low risk to the health of the general public. No human cases related to this avian influenza virus have been detected or reported in the United States.

Still, hunters should take some common-sense steps to protect themselves. They include:

Harvest only healthy-looking birds.

Wear gloves when handling any wild birds and change gloves and disinfect hands between handling live birds.

Change clothing as needed, especially if visibly soiled or if any birds handled made contact with your clothing.

Change clothing, including footwear, and wash hands well before coming in contact with any pet birds or domestic poultry.

For more information visit https://www.vet.upenn.edu/research/centers-laboratories/research-initiatives/wildlife-futures-program/resources/fact-sheets/fact-sheet-detail/avian-influenza

Thursday’s high 63, overnight low 51