Indiana, PA - Indiana County

ZEKE WILSON: Nesting for success

by on June 04, 2013 10:40 AM

Although the spring gobbler season is now closed, turkey sign or sightings have almost been daily in my world.

While mowing out the rows of scotch pines last week, I spotted a hen’s clutch of eggs hidden underneath some lower limbs. At least a dozen eggs filled the nest, and I was happy to have not hit the nest, and I left the area unfinished to allow the hen to return.

A few days later while mowing the same farm, I spotted another nest only 200 yards from the first one. It had three broken shells in it, leaving me to wonder if it was from another hen or if the hen had simply moved slightly after losing her first nest.

I hope the hatch across the area will be successful one, allowing fall hunters a chance at a tender jake or jenny.

Sticking to the turkey theme, on Monday while spraying I heard a familiar sound and had to stop to confirm it. Among the back-up beepers of heavy equipment and barking dogs, hearing the distant gobbler several times when I actually was listening was easy. Had the season still been under way, I believe getting the vocal gobbler to respond would have been likely, even with it being late in the day.

• The creeks and corn are showing signs of a lack of moisture, and with any luck we will pick up an evening shower in the next couple days.

Cooler temperatures should allow for more comfortable angling, although the lack of flow in smaller streams will make things difficult.

• A Pittsburgh man has been fined $1,100 after he presented a wildlife conservation officer with a phony shooting-range permit he could have bought legitimately for $30. The Pennsylvania Game Commission views the case as a timely reminder for those who take target practice at ranges on state game lands, where most participants who do not possess valid hunting or furtaker licenses must hold permits to use the range.

In 2011 the PGC began requiring permits for range shooters without hunting licenses as a way to make sure all who use the agency’s firearms ranges contribute to the cost of their upkeep. Licensed hunters and furtakers are required to carry their licenses with them while using the ranges.

Hunting licenses go on sale Monday, three weeks before the start of the new license year. Those who need shooting-range permits for 2013-14 must wait until July 1 to buy them. The permits that are on sale now are only valid until June 30. The next permit period runs from July 1 to June 30, 2014.

The range at which the counterfeit permit was presented is part of State Game Lands 203 in Allegheny County. Wildlife Conservation Officer Dan Puhala said the range sees heavy use, and he often patrols there.

While at the range on March 13, Puhala observed a target shooter fire a series of about 10 shots, which he said was in violation of range rules that dictate a three-shot limit. Puhala asked to see the man’s shooting-range permit, and while the man presented a permit to the officer, it turned out to be counterfeit.

While shooting-range permits can be purchased online and printed at home, they have distinguishing markings that identify them as authentic. Shooting-range permits cost $30 per year for residents and nonresidents. Those 15 years of age and younger do not need a permit if they are properly accompanied by a licensed or permitted person 18 years of age or older. Additionally, each licensed hunter or range permit holder can bring along one guest who does not have a permit or is unlicensed.

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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