Fall Is Exciting Time For Turkey Hunting

October 21, 2018 GMT

Pursuing wild turkeys in the fall remains one of the most exciting hunting seasons in Pennsylvania. It is, according to Pennsylvania Game Commission wild turkey biologist Mary Jo Casalena, also one of the most overlooked. “Even though we have a statewide turkey population that has remained stable, we continue to have a decline in the number of turkeys taken in the fall,” Casalena said. “I attribute that to the fact we’re becoming an elitist state when it come to deer hunting, but even more alarming is the fact we’re not recruiting younger hunters at a rate to replace our older hunters. “I’m sure we will see an upward trend when Sunday is approved and more youth and young adults will be able to get into the woods. Meanwhile, for those trying to tag a turkey there is a good food supply in most areas and good-size flocks.” All recommendations on fall turkey season length are made in accordance with guidelines in the PGC’s Wild Turkey Management Plan. When the board of game commissioners gave final approval this spring to fall turkey seasons for 2018 there were no changes for those who hunt in regional wildlife management units and provides the opportunity to take a turkey during the archery deer and black bear seasons. Shotguns, archery tackle and rifles may be used in all WMUs except 2B. Dogs may be used to hunt and scatter turkey flocks. In WMUs 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C, 4D and 4E, the season will be Saturday through Nov. 10, and Nov. 22-24. In WMUs 2B and 2C and the season remains open until Nov. 16, and reopens for the three-day Thanksgiving hunt. In WMUs 1A, 2A, 4A and 4B there is a one-week season that ends Nov. 3, and the three-day Thanksgiving season, and WMU 1B has the same one-week season, but no Thanksgiving season. In WMU 5B there is a three-day season Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, and in WMU 5A, the three-day season will is Nov. 1-3. Casalena said acorn, beech and cherry production varied across the state, with beech nut, white-oak acorn and soft mast production, such as apples and grapes, seeing average to above-average production in many areas, but below average food production elsewhere. Areas with abundant food sources tend to make the flocks more nomadic and, therefore harder for hunters to find. Whereas lack of food tends to keep flocks congregated where the food exists and, therefore easier for hunters to find. Casalena said were flocks are congregated makes for a great time to introduce a novice turkey hunter — both youth and adults — to the sport. “It’s not only a great time to be in the woods, but novice turkey callers can be just as successful as a pro when mimicking a lost turkey poult,” Casalena said. “Once a flock is located, I remind hunters that turkeys are tipped off more by movement and a hunter’s outline than fluorescent orange.” In most parts of the state, hunters participating in the fall turkey season are required, while moving, to wear a minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange on the head, chest and back combined and be visible from 360 degrees. Hunters may remove their orange once in a stationary location, providing that a minimum of 100 square inches of fluorescent orange is posted within 15 feet of the location and is visible from 360 degrees. Pennsylvania’s fall turkey season is among those open to the Mentored Youth and Mentored Adult hunting programs. During the fall season a mentor may transfer their fall turkey tag to a Mentored Youth or Mentored Adult hunter. Contact the writer: wildlife@timesshamrock.com