Outdoor Journal: Turkey hunt is off to good start


It looks like the turkey take is very good. Here are just a few of those who got one so far this season.

Let’s start with 13-year-old Keelin Noyes of Schoharie County, who shot a 22-pound tom that had 1 1/8-inch spurs and two beards (9.5 and 10.5 inches). Her dad Jordan Noyes and grandfather Mark Kazmieerczak were with her, and I am sure were very proud. She was hunting during youth week.

Then, Mel Cater of Rotterdam got a 20-pound, 2-ounce turkey with 1-inch spurs and a 10-inch beard in Albany County last Saturday using a slate call.

Mike Galcik of Schuylerville and Dan Penny of Ballston Spa had a quick and good turkey hunt, as each got big toms. After they located the turkeys, at 7 a.m. the turkeys began gobbling, and Mike and Dan set up in the hedgerow. The hunters were waiting and two tom were in full strut, but not gobbling. Dan was unable to see the birds about 15 yards away, and that’s when Mike’s new Strutt’n 360 got them turned around. Mike’s bird weighed 21 pounds and carried an 11-inch beard and Dan’s was 19 pounds with a 10-inch beard. Both birds had 7/8-inch spurs.

There is a good chance that Mr. Noonan — that’s me — will soon have a Strutt’n 360.

Last Saturday, I decided to check out my favorite nearby turkeys. I was in the woods, and just getting light when I put out my decoys and got myself hidden on the ground about 30 yards from the decoys. I did get a gobbling response to one of my calls, but it was across the road and they didn’t come over.

I was set where I have taken a lot of toms in the past, but, once the sun was up, the only thing moving was the squirrels. At noon, I headed back to my truck — and when I looked inside the truck, I saw my 28 gauge.

And I thought: Why not?

There were squirrels all over, and I know several guys that eat squirrels and take any I shoot. It would be my first hunt with the Hatfield 28 gauge — I have to admit, I was anxious to hunt with it –and it did not let me down.

I have to say, I enjoyed shooting the Hatfield. Six shoots, six squirrels.

The two guys that I give the squirrels to, they send the tails to Mepps to take part in its squirrel tail program. Note, though, from Mepps’ website: “Mepps is only interested in recycling tails taken from squirrels that have been harvested for the table. We do not advocate taking squirrels strictly for their tails. Squirrel tails cannot be sold in CA. It’s illegal to sell Western grey squirrel tails in the state of OR. State of Idaho Regulations: only red and fox squirrel tails can legally be sent to Mepps.”


At this time of year, there are newborn fawns and other young wildlife — and human contact can be harmful to the animals.
DEC asks you not to touch a wild baby animal, and to keep your distance.

Remember: “If you care . . . leave them there!”

Categories: Sports

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