You never expect these things to happen in your own backyard. Once were the days you could sit on the porch with a good cigar and two-fingers of a nice sipping whiskey and talk about the birds missed and ones bagged from earlier in the day—wait we still do that. The point I’m trying to make is: Be aware of the bills being sponsored in your state and then take action because if you sit around puffing and sipping your rights will be pulled out from under you. Here in CT we recently defeated three anti-gun/anti-hunting bills, SB 353, SB 839 and HB 5798, Rifle Scope Reviews and one pro-hunting bill, HB 5209, is heading to the House Floor. Here’s what can happen right under your nose:
- Senate Bill 353 would have banned the sale of all semi-automatic pistols not equipped with so-called “micro-stamping” technology. It was defeated on Friday, April 3, in the Judiciary Committee.
- Senate Bill 839 would have transferred operations of the currently independent Board of Firearm Permit Examiners to the Department of Public Safety. This action, if approved, would have taken away the autonomy of the Board, and would mean that if an applicant was denied a license, he/she would have had to appeal to the very body, the Department of Public Safety, which rejected the application in the first place. SB839 was defeated on Monday, March 30, in the Government Administration and Elections Committee.
- House Bill 5798 posed a threat to hunters by prohibiting the “unreasonable confinement or tethering of dogs.” It could have negatively impacted hunters by limiting their ability to kennel, transport, and house dogs bred for the purpose of hunting. HB 5798 was defeated on Friday, March 20, in the Environment Committee.
- House Bill 5209 passed out of the Environment Committee on Wednesday, March 18, and is now heading to the House Floor. This critical pro-hunting bill would ensure hunters in CT that public hunting acreage will never decrease. Known as “no-net-loss,” HB5209 would require that the state maintain the current level of available public recreational lands, including public hunting lands. If enacted, additional lands would have to be opened to hunting when land currently open to hunting is closed.
Be sure to contact your lawmakers and urge them to support your rights. Be polite but be firm and hit the Politian where it will hurt them the most. Tell them you will not vote for them or support their re-election. And you will tell all your friends to do the same. And so on and so on. Remind them that word-of-mouth is best form of advertisement. I won’t name any names here, but if you want to find out who proposed the CT bills click the links above. Find your State Senators and State Representatives.
The PA game commission’s preliminary harvest data indicates that wild turkey hunters had a great season this past fall. Hunters took 26,485 turkeys, which is a spike compared to 2007 when 21,900 birds were killed and 2006 with only 21,500 birds. For those of you who like statistics that’s a 19% increase over the previous three-year average for fall seasons. The state says that turkey reproduction increased slightly boosting the population size. The above average number of turkey and the poor fall mast—acorns and beechnuts were scarce in many forested areas—forced the birds to forage for food. That meant they became a bit easier for hunters to locate and find their roosts. The harvest hot spots were located in three of the state’s largest Wildlife Management Units (WMUs). WMU 4D was lead with 2,856 birds, followed by WMU 2G with 2,637, and WMU 2D with 2,183.
I hope you have patterned that 3-1/2 incher since May 1 is the start of the NY spring turkey season. The weather played havoc with nesting in 2008 and consequently there was a slight decrease in harvest rates. Based on brood surveys from the last two years and harvest data, the spring ‘09 season is looking in line with the five-year average. Expect a harvest of about 29,500 birds. During this past winter, the state started the first standardized winter flock survey program. Like the spring and early summer when weather can have a big impact on turkey nesting and poult survival, winter conditions, like temperature and snowfall, can stymie the turkey population. The goal of the survey is determine long-term trends in turkey populations.
The preliminary figures are in and it looks like WV turkey hunters harvested 9,485 bearded turkeys statewide during this past spring season. The top five counties were Mason with 422 birds, Preston with 378, Harrison with 310, Upshur with 296 and Wood with 273. The harvest is about 4% less this year compared to last year and can contributed to rainy weather conditions. The wet weather reduced hunters going into the field and gobbling activity. As always there is a silver lining to “dampened” harvest results. The state’s wildlife biologists expect birds to carryover through the fall and winter for the 2010 spring turkey season.
If done right clucking and purring in the spring can draw in a gobbling tom. This past season in MA a turkey hunter was luring toms with a push-button box call and was bowled over, but not by the sight of a tom strutting into view.
The hunter was literally bowled over. Shaking off the hit, the hunter suspected a coyote had mistaken him for a turkey, but what he saw staring back was a 35-pound bobcat. Evidentially the bobcat was puzzled, too. The bobcat had snuck up on the hunter’s without getting a clear look and when the cat pounced and connected with the hunter it leapt off of him just as quick. It pushed away from the hunter with such force that it pushed the hunters backwards.
The hunter received the worst of the encounter with scratches to his ear and arm. Unprovoked bobcat encounters are rare since bobcats usually don’t attack humans unless they have rabies. The hunter reported the cat was beautiful, absolutely gorgeous, so state wildlife officials assume the bobcat made an honest mistake.