When DEC announced the opening of the 2020 spring turkey season would take place on its usual date of May 1st, with the youth hunt opening the weekend before, they cautioned hunters to take steps to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The onset of the corona virus is having an impact on every aspect of our lives and youth turkey mentoring programs throughout NY are no exception. That was certainly the case in Greene and Columbia Counties. Both usually conduct active programs through their respective sportsmen’s federations, the National Wild Turkey Federation, (NWTF), as well as by individual clubs and sportsman/mentors.
Fortunately, although formal youth mentoring programs were cancelled, many parents and mentors took appropriate precautions and safely got kids out turkey hunting last weekend.
Twelve-year-old Isaac Lasher of Athens, hunted with his dad, Jason, and bagged a nice tom last Saturday on opening day of the youth season. Fielding Pilato, 12, of Coxsackie, shot a beautiful tom while hunting with his dad, Shane. In Greenville, 12-year old, Conner Aloisi, bagged a mature tom while hunting with mentor, Chris Alberts. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Chris is a NYS Trooper and K9 handler out of SP Catskill. Congratulations are in order for all three youth turkey hunters, their mentors, and parents!
DEC’s press release for the regular 2020 Turkey Season included the following message to:
“Hunt Safe, Hunt Smart!”
While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made each year. Every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable, and DEC encourages hunters to use common sense this season and remember what they were taught in their DEC Hunter Education Course:
Point your gun in a safe direction;
Treat every gun as if it were loaded;
Be sure of your target and beyond;
Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot; and
Stalking Stinks! Set-up with your back against a tree or other object wider than your shoulders and call birds to you.
Regarding DEC’s last bullet, “Stalking Stinks,” some products on the market encourage potentially unsafe turkey hunting practices.
Speaking with Jim Bertram, retired Columbia County Sheriff, and former Director of DEC’s Hunter Education Program, he said he is particularly concerned with gobbler-fantail “decoys” designed for hunters to slide over the barrels of their shotgun. Hunters are to then crawl and stalk turkeys with the shoot-through decoy.
This is an extremely dangerous practice that should be avoided per DEC’s odious admonition. Making yourself look like legal game and adding realistic movement is a recipe for disaster.
DEC also went on to encourages all hunters to wear blaze orange or blaze pink when moving between hunting spots to make themselves more visible to other hunters. A blaze orange or blaze pink vest or other material can be hung in a nearby tree when you are set-up and calling birds so other hunters are alerted to your presence.
Striper Update: The early heavy run of bigger fish was short lived and put off by recent heavy rains and cool weather. Pin-hooking herring on Sabiki rigs has become spotty as well. Warmer, sunny days forecasted for this week should improve conditions.
Happy Hunting, Fishing and Trapping until next time.
Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.
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