Outdoor Journal: On the hunt for turkeys

Ed Noonan's weekly outdoors column
Myles Piotrowski of Scotia shows off the big bass he caught in Alabama.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Myles Piotrowski of Scotia shows off the big bass he caught in Alabama.

Let’s talk turkey. 

While covering quite a few acres of turkey woods in Florida looking for turkeys in the pouring rain for five-plus hours and not hearing one gobble, I am very eager to talk with some Eastern toms. Now is the time to be out there with your binoculars, and I like to drive around in the just-before-dark looking for turkeys in fields and watch where they enter the woods going to their roosting area. When I was working, I would leave for work early when it was still dark and make a few calls to get answered where they were roosting, then do the same thing in the evening. 

Now, I shouldn’t have to tell you about wearing full camouflaged clothing, head to toe, and that includes if you hunt on the ground, in a ground blind or even in a tree stand. As for calling, I used to have to do my practicing in the cellar or when the family was out of the house. Many of times, my son and daughter would yell when they were trying to do their homework. 

And lastly, what I consider to be the most important: “Sight in your shotgun.”

I hear a lot of “it shot fine last year,” but, if nothing else, put up a target and see what happens. Today’s high-performance No. 6 pellets are capable of putting 100 pellets in a 10-inch circle at 40 yards. You don’t have to, but I like to use a turkey choke tube. You want to penetrate the turkey head and neck. As for distance, I prefer a closer shot. 

Good luck,  and remember to send me your turkey tale. 

Speaking of shotguns, I recently received an email from a reader (“Bob”), who likes to hike, tent and hunt all turkey, small game and deer seasons and wants one gun. My choice, and its reasonably priced, would be the Midland 20-gauge backpack single barrel shotgun. I have taken an Osceola Tom turkey and nice wild hog in the same week in Florida. It weighs only 4.8 pounds, has Beretta Mobil choke and folds in half for easy carrying. I actually have taken a turkey in the morning and a hog (20-gauge slug) in the same day.

TREE STAND RECALL

Dick’s Sporting Goods is recalling Field & Stream Timberline Hang on Tree Stands because they pose a fall hazard. According to a statement from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, the weld on the seats can break, which would cause the seat to fall from the tree. 

If you have one with the following number/letter combinations — “HEH01566” followed by “FS080117” or “FS090117” — return the stand to Dick’s Sporting Goods or Field & Stream for a full refund or store credit. 

The seats were sold at Dick’s Sporting Goods and Field & Stream stores from September 2017 through January 2019.

FATHER/SON FISHING TRIPS

Recently, I received a call from Ed Piotrowski, of Scotia, who took his son Myles to Alabama to look at some colleges. While they were there, he decided they would do a little fishing and hired Capt. Cameron to go bass fishing on Pickwick Lake.

The trip began slow, but they were not disappointed. They were fishing half-ounce rattle traps and chatter baits through the grass. At the end of the day, Myles had a big bass, a nice 4 pounder. Add to this a great barbecue, and it made for a great trip. 

(I also have to tell you what he said: “Love your column! Keep up the great work.”)

While our local rivers and lakes are shedding their winter ice with the start of spring, the streams in New Zealand still enjoy the summer warmth and sunny days. Recently, Peter Komarinski, of Rotterdam, joined his son Allen for four days of fly-fishing at the Orvis-endorsed Stonefly Lodge on the Motueka River near Nelson. Allen, a 1998 graduate of Mohonasen and 2002 graduate of Elmira College, resides with his wife Annie in Auckland. So a trip to New Zealand for Peter and his wife Mary Kay was combined with a few days of father/son fly fishing. 

Clear streams and sunny skies of New Zealand provide an opportunity to spot the trout, but also allow the trout to spot the anglers. The fish become very cautious and selective. Fishing guide Aaron directed the approach in the water, almost stalking the trout. It is easy for a novice to mistake a trout lying on the bottom for just another rock shadow. Trudging through fast-flowing water from knee to waist deep could be strenuous, and, with a bad step on slippery rocks, at times wet. Allen spent several minutes trying to catch one fish; a cast a little to the left, a cast a little to the right, and the fish looked, but no interest. They had the guide change the fly — and repeat, repeat. 

Finally, success. 

After high-fives and photos, the Trout was gently released back into the stream and swam away. It was a nearly perfect day with a father/son shared memory that will last forever.

DEC DEER HUNTING STATISTICS

NYS deer hunters harvested 227,787 deer during 2018-19 hunting season, which is approximately 12 percent more than the previous season. 

Commissioner Basil Seggos said “hunting benefits all New Yorkers by reducing negative impacts of deer on forests, agricultural crops, and communities while contributing an estimated $690 million to the state’s economy through hunting related expenses and license purchases, which helps support conservation and resource management efforts at DEC.”

The estimated deer take included 114,402 antlerless deer and 113,385 antlered bucks. This was an increase of 20% in antlerless and a 5% increase in antlered deer. Regionally there were 28,642 deer taken in the Northern Zone and 199,145 in the Southern Zone. Nearly 60% of the adult bucks harvested were 2.5 years or older. 

For further information, go to http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/116664.html.

Reach Gazette outdoors columnist Ed Noonan at [email protected].

Categories: Sports

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