(WTAJ)– Spring turkey season is right around the corner and the opportunity to bag a turkey might be in the hunter’s favor this year due to a larger than average flock.
Pennsylvania Game Commission turkey biologist Mary Jo Casalena pointed out many factors that contribute to the larger flock this year. One of the factors she pointed out was due to an influx last year of about 3.1 poults per hen statewide.
“That was our highest ratio since we began monitoring recruitment,” Casalena said.
Also in 2021, some Wildlife Management Units had a shorter than average turkey season along with the elimination of using hunting rifles took part in the increase this year.
“That should all translate into a lot of high-spirited jakes on the landscape,” Casalena said. “Hunters should find a larger-than-normal percentage of older, 3-year-old turkeys out there, too. So there’s certainly reason for optimism again this year.”
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On Saturday, April 23 the season starts with a one-day hunt for junior and youth mentored hunters, then begins on Saturday, April 30 for everyone else and goes until Tuesday, May 31.
Pennsylvania’s turkey flock is the biggest on the East coast and it’s estimated that about 150,000 hunters participate in it each year.
Casalena gave some tips on how to make a hunter’s harvest more successful such as looking for droppings, feathers, tracks but important of all is the call.
“The most important call is the hen yelp,” Casalena said. “The hunter wants to imitate a hen to attract the gobbler to come within range. After that it’s a matter of practicing and learning other calls like the different cackles and purrs and understanding when to use each. Friction calls have great sound and pitch, while mouth calls are the most convenient, especially when being still is important.”
Last year only about 15 percent of hunters harvested one turkey and about 18 percent of those licensed to hunt more than one bagged a second.
The PA Game Commission also wants to remind hunters to be aware of of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus and to remain protected against it.
For more information on turkey hunting, licensing and regulations, visit the PA Game Commission website.