The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 2, 2012

Don Steese's Outdoors column: Turkey time out

By Don Steese
Daily Item

ALLENWOOD — Spring gobbler season ended on Thursday and there’s at least one very happy turkey hunter out there, I know that for sure.

I know it because I was running the dogs at the State Game Lands on Suplee Mill road near Winfield and came across a pile of feathers and a spent 3 ½ inch, 12 gauge, No. 4 shell.

Proof enough for me! I can’t even imagine shooting a 3 ½ inch shell.

It would seem to me that doing that would hurt you nearly as much as it hurts the turkey. A 12-auge shotgun, I believe, has more felt recoil than most rifles used for deer hunting here in Pennsylvania. I’m guessing, however, that if you’ve just called a gobbler into shooting range you’d never notice the recoil.

That’s certainly the way it is with rifles. Your shoulder gets pounded on the range but when firing at game you never realize there’s any recoil at all.

By the way, the Game Commission is reminding all successful spring gobbler hunters to report their kills. You can do so by telephone, at the agency’s website, or by mailing the card that came with your license.

2012-2013 hunting licenses go on sale on Monday, June 11, with all fees remaining the same as they were last year, and as the commission loves to remind us, have been since 1999.

Antlerless license applications, whether you plan to use them or burn them, will be accepted starting July 9.

The Game Commission is urging dove hunters who receive a survey being sent out by various wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, to fill out and return their surveys. If you receive one of the surveys one of the things you’ll be asked about is your opinion about the effect spent lead is having on doves and other wildlife, which is a very controversial subject.

There are forces out there who are pushing for a total ban on lead shot, thus the reason for asking the question on this survey. The lead ban has been in effect for many years for waterfowl hunting but that isn’t enough to satisfy some people. If you get a survey the only thing you can do is answer the question honestly and let the chips fall where they may.  

The Game Commission would also like Pennsylvania residents to help them monitor the bat population in the state. Pennsylvania Game Commission biologists are seeking assistance from residents in a regional monitoring effort to collect bat maternity colony data this summer. This monitoring is especially important due to the mortalities in bat populations throughout the northeastern United States, including Pennsylvania, being caused by White-Nose Syndrome.  

“WNS primarily kills during the winter, but the true impact of WNS on bat populations cannot be determined using estimates from winter hibernacula alone,” according to Game Commission biologist Calvin Butchkoski. “Pennsylvanians can help us more fully gauge the impact of WNS on the landscape by hosting a bat count this summer. We are especially urging people who have ever conducted a bat count for the Game Commission in the past to redo a count this summer.”

Information and applications are available at the commission’s website www.pgc.state.pa.us.

Email comments to jdsteese@yahoo.com