Mike Streich of Ridgway captured this drop-tine monster buck on camera in Elk County on Aug. 21. It’s one of five finalists in a Game Commission contest.
Might tough times – or at least a leaner than usual future – be ahead?
Wildlife management unit 2D, which takes in all of Armstrong County and parts of several of those around it, has long been the best in the state for turkey hunting. It usually gives up more birds per acre than anywhere else.
In August, though, the Pennsylvania Game Commission asked the public to report turkey sightings. The agency was looking for information on number of birds seen, sex, number of poults with hens, and location.
A quick look reveals that people saw fewer poults per hen in unit 2D than just about anywhere.
According to the numbers, hens sighted in unit 2D were accompanied, on average, by 1.86 poults. Of three of the state’s 22 other management units had that few or fewer.
Unit 5D, around Philadelphia, had the fewest poults per hen, at 1.36, followed by unit 5A, also in the southeast, at 1.66.
Unit 2D and 1A in the extreme northwest corner of the state were next up from the bottom at 1.86 each.
Things looked most promising in unit 3A, along the New York border across parts of McKean, Potter, Tioga and Bradford counties. People reported 3.4 young birds per hen there.
Altogether, people reported seeing 30,851 turkeys. Unit 2B, which takes in most of Allegheny County and parts of several others, was home to 3,649 birds seen. That was the most anywhere. People reported the fewest – 375 – in unit 2H in the northcentral part of the state.
Full results of the survey can be found here.
And what of big whitetails?
People are reporting seeing some of those, too, including some truly magnificent specimens.
Now it’s time to vote for the best of them.
The Game Commission is running a big buck contest for massive whitetails caught on trail cameras. The five finalists are posted on its Facebook page and the public is being asked to pick a favorite from among them.
Votes must be registered by Sept.12. Go here and cast your vote by “liking” your favorite photo or photos.
Monthly contests also will be held in September, October and November. September submissions are being accepted through Sept. 30 by e-mail at PGCtrailcam@pa.gov.
The winner of each monthly contest receives a trail camera.
In the meantime, looking for something to do outdoors in the coming weeks?
Here are some ideas.
Gander Mountain stores are holding special National Rifle Association days at their stories Sept. 10-11.
Customers can purchase an NRA membership for $30 – that’s $10 off the norm — and receive a $25 Gander Mountain gift card. NRA representatives will also be conducting ‘Intro to Firearms Safety’ seminars covering safe firearms handling, proper firearms storage and cleaning at 1 p.m. each day.
Later in the month, from 8:30 a.m.-noon on Sept. 24, Ligonier Camp and Conference Center and Boy Scout Troop 375 are hosting a catch and release fishing derby at Ligonier Camp Lake, located at 118 Dugan Lane.
The person catching the longest fish will be awarded $400.
The event is open to people of all ages – though those 16 and older need a fishing license – and everyone gets a free lunch at the end.
Registration is $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and younger if paid in advance, $30 on the day of the event.
Preregistration can be done by clicking here. Information is available by calling 724-238-6428 or 724-238-2717.
And finally, in honor of National Hunting and Fishing Day, Irwin Sportsmen’s Association is holding an open house from 12-5 p.m. on Sept. 25.
A number of free activities will be offered, including trap shooting, bowling pin pistol shooting, rifle and shotgun shooting, face painting, tomahawk throwing and more. All firearms and ammunition will be provided. A meal of hot dogs, chips, drinks and homemade entrees and desserts will be provided, too. All those who sign up as a member on that day get a $20 discount, knocking the fee down to $40.
The club is located at 995 Oakside Dr., Irwin.