Indiana, PA - Indiana County

ZEKE WILSON: Hunting pressure should increase

by on May 14, 2013 10:40 AM

Now that spring gobbler is open for the entire day, the hunting pressure should begin to pick up.

The opportunity to get out after work or having the option to hunt all day falls at just the right time. The other day, while driving through the Saltsburg area, I spotted the first goslings of the year, and that is usually an indicator that the hen turkeys are sitting on the nest.

While turkey sightings have been minimal, those that I have seen were single birds. Although many of the gobblers willing to respond to a call are already dead, filling a tag now can be just as obtainable as the first week.

With a lack of gobbling activity it can be discouraging to hunt the spring when hunters are conditioned to a gobbler coming in vocally. Outdoor television does a good job of only showing the best of the best, and rarely is a silent hunt shown or discussed. Unfortunately the bulk of gobblers will not gobble every 10 yards on their way to the decoy. The chances of one gobbling 20 times are often as good the chances of it coming in silent.

Not surprisingly, many turkey hunters hang up the vest when the woods go silent. Yet other species such as deer and bear never announce their presence, but hunters harvest them regularly.

Despite the midseason hunting not being what it is like on TV, setting up in a known strut zone or feeding area can help a hunter kill a quiet tom. Crossing patterns are used by wildlife of all species, and posting up on a ridge while calling sporadically and listening to the spring woods is often the best card to play. As you wait in hopes of a silent bird sneaking into your setup, there is always the chance of hearing a distant gobble. Oftentimes a long beard will begin to really sound things off in the afternoon, and for those in the woods, the hunt can quickly turn.

The amount of vegetation and lack of consistent gobbling can make it difficult to pinpoint a bird when only one gobble is heard. Hunting with a partner allows for a greater chance of narrowing down where the bird is, although a muffled gobble is never easy to zero in on. Once again, by simply sitting down and listening, there is a greater chance of getting a good ear on the limited gobbling.

Driving around in the truck and stopping to call can work during the first week, but when the toms get tight-lipped, spending time in the woods is how to hunt. Most gobblers are still talking on the limb in the mornings and can still be located in the evenings, although at this point it is hit or miss for a roosting one.

• Work in St. Marys this week made the decision easy enough to stay at camp, and with any hope, there will be some time for trout fishing. Angling pressure for trout on many of the streams has diminished to the point of nearly no one on the creek. The popular and more frequently stocked streams still are busy on the weekends, but finding open water shouldn’t be a problem.

While I was passing Lake Arthur there was no shortage of boats on the water even though it was during the week. In addition to the boat anglers, I noticed a number of anglers wading the coves in the late evening in pursuit of stripers.

Those fishing through the night are reporting catches of fish in the 25-pound range on top-water lures that in many minds is worth the effort of getting wet.



Zeke Wilson is an outdoors writer for The Indiana Gazette. His columns appear Tuesday on the Outdoors page and in the Indiana County Area Sports section on The Indiana Gazette Online.
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May 14, 2013 10:30 AM
HUNTERS BAG THEIR BIRDS
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