Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 3

2016 Spring Gobbler

Forecast

By Joe
Kosack

A lot is looking up for hunters this spring.

P

ENNSYLVANIA'S SPRING
gobbler hunters probably didn't
know it, but they had a lot riding
on Punxsutawney Phil's forecast in
February.
At least that's the way Game Commission Turkey Biologist Mary Jo
Casalena saw it in late February when
she was preparing her forecast for the
upcoming spring gobbler season.
"If Phil is correct, and we have that
early spring, then hens could begin incubating their nests one to two weeks earlier than normal," Casalena explained.
"That's great news for hunters, because
those lonely toms will be gobbling more
and coming in easier to calls."
Of course, that doesn't mean they'll
be so desperate for companionship
they'll abandon their wood smarts, or
come running to every caller out there.
But their susceptibility to hunters is
more pronounced when hens nest earlier, because fewer are tending their initial harems and the competition among
gobblers for the remaining available
hens becomes greater.

Three Peaks of Gobbling
Gobblers typically are most susceptible to hunters during three identifiable
peaks of gobbling, Casalena said. Those
periods are: 1.) early in the mating
MAY 2016	

season; 2.) when a substantial number
of hens are committed to incubating
nests; and 3.) about three weeks into
the season, when fewer hunters are in
the woods and gobblers search for the
last receptive hens.
"The second peak generally is when
our spring season starts," Casalena said.
"But exactly when these gobbling peaks
occur is tied to spring weather, winter
severity and the availability of fall foods
through winter.
The timing of these peaks varies from
year to year, and largely is determined by
the health of hens coming out of winter,
Casalena said. When spring starts
warmer, after a mild winter with ample
fall foods, hens typically are seeking
gobbler company a week or two earlier.
"In harsher conditions, hens - particularly first-year hens - tend to nest
later than normal, because they'll spend
the first part of mating season feeding
and gaining enough weight to produce
eggs," Casalena said.
What's interesting, though, is that
Pennsylvania's spring gobbler hunters
had greater success afield the past two
seasons, despite those seasons following snowy and polar-vortex-plagued
winters.
Last spring, hunters took about
41,200 spring turkeys in Pennsylvania,
3



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Intro
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 8
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 12
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 15
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 18
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 21
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 27
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Cover4
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