By: Logan Jaquay
The snow is quickly melting and the ground is beginning to dry up, which can only mean that spring is finally here. The hunters of Pennsylvania are thrilled for this time of year because it means turkey season is upon us. Many students here at Eisenhower carry on the hunting tradition that their parents and grandparents have passed down to them, and are planning to head into the woods on the first day of spring gobbler. This year, the statewide turkey hunt began April 27 and runs through May 31. In addition, a statewide youth day took place on April 20 for junior hunters. The bag limit this year is two bearded birds with the proper hunting license, but only one bird may be taken per day.
The thrill that turkey hunting brings to hunters in our area is different from regular deer hunting. While hunting for turkeys, hunters are supposed to sit and call birds into the area they are hunting in. Hunters are not permitted to put on stalks in their hunting area. The reason behind not being allowed to chase after turkey is for the hunters’ own safety. If one hunter is sitting calling in a bird and another hunter is chasing that call, thinking it is a real turkey, it could cause an accident. Many callers use decoys to lure in real turkeys and, if the hunter chasing the call thinks the decoy is a real turkey, they could potentially shoot the calling hunter. Thus, all hunters must sit and call turkey in, unlike deer hunting, where hunters are allowed to chase after deer.
To find out more about the upcoming spring turkey season The Squire caught up with veteran turkey hunter and Eisenhower student, Paul Swanson. Paul shared that he was looking forward to being out in the woods chasing longbeards and hearing the turkey gobble. Although Paul has not been able to go scouting for turkey yet, he hopes that it will be a good year to turkey hunt since the last few years have been slow. When asked about how he got into turkey hunting, Paul recalled, “When I was 12 years old my dad took me out to the woods for the youth day where I killed my first gobbler.” Paul hopes that someday he can share that same experience, and pass the hunting tradition on to the next generation of youth hunters. Paul also shared that his favorite part of the turkey meat to eat are the breasts. This is common for most hunters to eat the breast, while some hunters take great pride in eating the gizzard, which is the muscle that filters the pebbles from the food that the turkey eats.
The Squire would like to wish Paul and the rest of the Eisenhower hunters the best of luck and safety this turkey season as they chase after those trophy gobblers. For more information about rules and regulations regarding spring turkey season visit the PA game commission website at https://read.nxtbook.com/pgc/huntingtrapping/20182019/turkey.html. Stay tuned to the W-IKE news show for updates and interviews following the spring turkey season.