Hunters Aided By Technology
Inside the Outdoors, October 29, 2010

It seems that the modern day technology is making it easier for sportsmen to go online to find out different information pertaining to hunting, for example, than ever before. Recently, I received an email from the Pennsylvania Game Commission that the Wildlife Conservation Officers, Land Management Group Supervisors and forecasters have spent a considerable amount of time gathering information about wildlife population trends in their districts which will be featured online. So, the computer enthusiast will have no trouble finding out pertinent information about game.

To view these field forecasts, go to the PGC website – and click on “Field Officer Forecasts” photo link in the middle of the homepage, then select the region of interest in the map, and choose the WCO district of interest from the map. Then select the link to the LMGS Group or forester link of interest within that region.

In explaining the setup, Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director explained, “Our field officers and foresters provide wildlife forecasts for small game, furbearers, wild turkey, bear and deer within their respective districts. These forecasts are based on sightings field officers have had in the months leading up to the 2010-11 seasons, and some offer comparisons to previous wildlife forecasts. Some WCOs and LMGSs include anecdotal information, as well as hunting and trapping leads in their districts,” he revealed.

One can even report his harvest online, these days. That sure makes it easier for the hunter. According to the PGC website, those animals requiring harvest reports are deer, turkey, bobcat and fishers. The Commission also reported that one can report their harvest online of snow geese taken during the Snow Goose Conservation Hunt. Elk and bear must be taken to a check station.

“The only other ‘reporting’ requirement is the Hunter Information Program, which is conducted at the time of purchasing a migratory game bird license, and that reflects the previous season’s harvest of migratory game birds (waterfowl, doves, woodcock, etc.).”

“To report your harvest, go to the Commission’s website, click on “Report Your Harvest” above the “Quick Clicks” box in the right hand column, check “Harvest Reporting,” scroll down and click on the “Start Here” button at the bottom of the page, choose the method of validating license information, and click on the checkbox for the harvest tag being reported. A series of options will appear for a hunter to report a harvest. After filling in the harvest information, click on the “Continue” button to review the report and then hit the “Submit” button to complete the report. Failing to hit the “Submit” button,” according to the PGC, will result in a harvest report not being completed.”

I’ve talked to a number of outdoor enthusiasts who not only don’t own computers, but also have no inclination into want to buy or learn information via modern technology. My advise to them – ask your neighbor or hunting buddy if he has a computer and take it from there. If he is really your buddy, he’ll invite you into his home and share the screen information.

Fall turkey season is upon us once again. According to the PGC, one is encouraged to check the 2010-11 Hunter’s Digest that one receives upon purchasing a license. Turning to page 35, one can then view the season dates that will be outlined. It is important to note that changes have been made from previous years.

According to Mary Jo Casalena, Game Commission wild turkey biologist, the turkey population is excellent. Pre-season scouting for these game birds is a must. Once located, they will be easier to find.

However, with that said, “The widespread abundance of acorns this year likely will keep turkeys and flocks dispersed throughout the woods,” Casalena said, “making them harder to locate and hunt. However, an above-average turkey population and an open season during the Thanksgiving holiday should improve hunter opportunities,” it was pointed out.

The Thanksgiving holiday season, Nov. 25-27, in most Wildlife Management Units, is designed to provide additional hunting opportunities for youth and families when schools and many businesses are closed and, hopefully, to reverse the declining trend in fall turkey hunters, she said.

One little tidbit I found interesting is that by no means should turkey hunters wear red, white, blue or black clothing. These are the colors found on mature gobblers. Guess hunters can’t be patriotic in the woods!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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