I just got this update in from Spring Thunder Pro Staffer Ian Kramer in Pennsylvania.
We have been in a holding pattern here in SW PA waiting for the season to open up and it’s now just around the corner. I was out last Friday morning to do some scouting of the properties that we hunt and I was not let down. I started with hearing gobbles as I stepped outside the house just to check the weather before I set out to make my rounds. My property backs up to the state park, so even though that is an area where we usually don’t hunt, it’s still an option.
The second spot was the neighboring farm where I had been hearing the birds when I was at the first farm. The gobbling continued as I got to a good vantage point and I watched 3 long beards and 4 hens work across the field. Always a good sign to see the birds in this particular field because most of the field is hidden from the road so the birds get left alone. I could hear more gobbling off to the North, so it was back in the truck and off to the next spot.
I got out of the truck at the 3rd spot just in time to hear a couple gobbles not too far up over the hill. Within in a few minutes I watched a hen pop over the crest in the field and she was towing 3 “full fans” behind her. She wasn’t on my side of the crest for very long before she went back over the top and disappeared. Later in the morning I drove back past this farm and believe I saw the same group 2 fields to the West. The full flock was made up of 2-3 jakes, a hand full of hens and the 3 long beards.
The last spot I stopped for the morning also showed promise. I got to this farm around 7:30-8:00 so the birds were already well into their morning routine. I found 2 long beards in a normal spot for turkey sightings on this particular farm. One was strutting and the second was just hanging beside his buddy. I could see 7 hens just working into the field towards the gobblers and they eventually met out in the middle. All while I was watching those birds through the binoculars, a third gobbler was letting himself be known down a wooded ravine where we have tangled with turkeys in the past. He eventually made an appearance in the field and was all alone. I watched those birds for a few more minutes and then headed back to the house.
Our main focus for this weekend will be the youth season. It is one day, this Saturday April 22, and is a great opportunity to get the youngsters out in the woods to chase unpressured birds. We have a youth hunter that has taken 2 jakes, but is still looking for his first long beard. The fields around here are still low enough so the birds are still using them to strut in, so our plan will be to set up on the edge of these fields that we know have been holding turkeys and use a mating pair of decoys to coax a mature bird into range. Since most of the groups of turkeys that I watched had multiple long beards in them all strutting together, I think out safest bet right off the bat will be a semi-strut jake over a breeding hen. Fingers crossed we will have an exciting morning.