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Outdoors notebook: Patience key to turkey harvest

Hunters heard few calls during the opening week of the May wild turkey season, and both sightings and sounds of gobblers have been slim through the first two weeks of legal shooting.

A few nice harvests were logged during the preseason Youth Hunt. Pat Hoover, president of the Chautauqua County Chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation, took out Jack Hanson, 15, from Chardon, Ohio, that youth-hunt weekend for hunts in Chautauqua County.

“The only thing we could call in were jakes,” Hoover said of the Saturday run. On Sunday, they set up four decoys and at 6:30 a.m. three jakes and a boss gobbler came in range. “The bird weighed 20 pounds with a 9-inch beard and ¾-inch spurs,” Hoover said of its specs.

Since the opener, Hoover has had reports of few birds seen, heard and harvested.

Jim Monteleone devotes much of his spring season to hunts out west as well as around Western New York. His take on the season start echoes Hoover’s view of the hunt, but Monteleone sees better prospects for the second half of the spring season.

Based on the number of hens tended and quietly on nests earlier in the season, he writes of the season start and second-half prospects, “The vast majority of birds taken are coming after 9 a.m. and this is indicative of the hens wandering away from the gobblers and laying eggs.

“I have herd very little gobbling and reverted to a single-egg decoy not in the hopes that the lonely toms are willing to come from greater distances. This points to a better later season response (third and fourth week of May) when hens are incubating eggs and only feeding for about two hours a day.

“If hunters are finding nests, a good count would tell you where that hen is in the laying cycle, with 10 to 14 being the average clutch size.”

With cover thickening, forage abundance increasing, and hens on the move, turkey hunters could see a better start during first light and, taking Monteleone’s advice, look for better results during late-morning hours.

Teaching fishing

The 12th Annual Jimmy Griffin “Teach Me To Fish” free gathering for kids and parents on Bison City Rod & Gun Club grounds and waters at 511 Ohio St. goes from 2 to 5 p.m. May 22.

Kids ages 15 and younger with a parent or mentor can feed baby steelhead trout, attend six learning stations, win drawing prizes, receive free area fishing maps and enjoy a hot dog. For more details, check with Dave Barus at 597-4081.

Pistol awards

Ten-X Shooting Club members scored well in competitions and received high honors during the combined 2016 Pistol League Awards Banquet held at Kotecki’s Gardenview Grove.

Tom Elwell won 2016 Most Improved Shooter of the Year for the Niagara Frontier Pistol League while Jim Gerstung took the 2015-2016 Inaugural Suburban Pistol Sportsmen of the Year Award.

Peter Vasilion posted the second highest average in the NFPL and SPL Possible Award, Matt Giansante won a SPL Timed “Possible” Award (100 score in timed fire) and Jim Wieberg took second place in the SPL Marksman Class High Average of the Year competition.

Dove notes

New York Dove Hunting, a group working to legalize mourning dove hunting in New York State, faces stiff opposition from anti-hunting and animal rights groups lobbying state legislators.

Opposition to dove hunting has barred hunts, more so in northeastern states than in the Midwest and West. And hunters involved in dove hunts have a special attachment to the pursuit.

In Iowa, Sen. Deck Dearden of Des Moines sponsored a dove-hunt bill three times before it was signed into law in 2011. When Dearden retired in April, an animal rights enthusiast emailed him, “You’re a sick old man. I hope you die of a heart attack hunting mourning doves.” Dearden tersely replied, “So do I.”

To view the NY Dove Hunting efforts, visit nydovehunting.weebly.com.