Taking Down a Tom

By: Lydia Larson

     As the snow begins to melt and the trees begin to bud, that means one thing to hunters – spring gobbler season is about to start. Spring gobbler season started this year on April 30 and ends May 31. Whether you are new to turkey hunting or have been doing it for years, The Squire is here to help! The Squire interviewed Shawn Pascuzzi, a sophomore at Eisenhower, to get some tips about spring turkey season.

     Pascuzzi has been hunting turkeys for some time now and shared, “The number one thing that got me started is hearing them gobble in the woods. Nothing is more exciting than hearing that loud spring turkey gobble.” When hunting, hunters typically communicate with the birds by using a call to draw them in closer. To turkey hunt, you will need an array of gear. Pascuzzi recommends a camo jacket, pants, and gloves, a face mask, a turkey decoy, and a turkey call. Some places that you can find all of these items locally are Walmart, Dunham’s Sports, Tall Tales, and Pennwild Outdoors. Wearing camo is essential to turkey hunting so you can blend in well with your surroundings and not spook the birds away. Also, you should not wear any blue or red on any parts of your body because another hunter could mistake it for a tom (a full-grown male turkey) head.

     To start your hunt, Pascuzzi explained, “Before turkey season begins, you should do a little bit of scouting to find a good spot where turkeys roost and feed. Once you find a good spot, you can rely on that spot [to hunt].”  He also shared that you will need a good, clean shotgun with 3-inch turkey loads that also has a good choke on it. You will want to head out very early in the morning, such as 4:30AM, and do not run; instead, you should crouch and move very slowly. Turkeys roost in various spots and https://www.nwtf.org/ says that they are likely to roost near water, in heavy, mature timber, and, during the cold months, in evergreens. There is always a limit of harvesting animals during a hunting season and, according to https://www.pgc.pa.gov/, the limit for spring turkey season is, “Daily limit one, season limit two. (Second spring gobbler may be only taken by persons who possess a valid special wild turkey license.)”

     Spring gobbler season is a very exciting time for hunters because all their time and effort pay off. The Squire asked Pascuzzi what his favorite part of turkey hunting was, and he shared, “My favorite part of turkey hunting is that heart stopping feeling once you spot the turkey. Your adrenaline starts to rush, and you start to shake. There is no better feeling.” When that big gobbler approaches you, you should stay calm, be absolutely silent to not spook it away, and move as slowly as possible to get a good aim on it. Pascuzzi says if it is a jake (a small male turkey), you should let it walk and let it grow until next year so it can get bigger.

     Hopefully, The Squire was able to help you out this turkey season and you can be as successful as Pascuzzi, who’s personal best gobbler was 24 pounds with a 10 ½ inch beard and 1 ¼ spurs. The Squire wishes all the turkey hunter good luck on this year’s spring gobbler season!

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