Edmiston talks spring gobbler and pandemic

Bob Parana - Staff Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic will not interrupt the upcoming Pennsylvania Spring Gobbler season. While the youth hunt will take place Saturday, Apr. 25 and the season will run from May 2 – 30, hunters are still reminded of the precautions put in place by the state to prevent further spread of the virus.
The travel restrictions put in place by Governor Tom Wolf allow for turkey hunting as an outdoor recreation according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC). While hunting will go on the Commission urges hunters to follow social-distancing and stop the spread protocols.
The PAC released the following concerning the upcoming season. “Hunting turkeys in Penn’s Woods will be different this year because of COVID-19, particularly during the youth spring turkey hunt on April 25. Some simple rules can make all turkey hunting safer. One of the easiest to follow is: If you live together you can hunt together. When you live in the same home as someone, there’s relatively no risk of spreading COVID-19, so long as no one in the home has it. If someone does, everyone in the home is expected to self-quarantine for two weeks. Consider carefully whether you should mentor any hunter this spring turkey season. If Pennsylvanians are lucky, the state will be coming off COVID-19’s apex but stopping the spread remains as important as ever. No turkey hunt is worth the risk of contracting COVID-19. Northcentral Region Game Warden Sue Edmiston is expecting a good spring gobbler season. The region contains Elk, McKean, Cameron, Clearfield, Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Potter, Tioga, and Union counties.“I have been seeing quite a bit of turkey action. I’ve seen some single hens which tells me they were bred and on their own probably sitting nest and what not. I’ve seen a lot of gobbler traffic. There’s a pretty good outlook for the season,” she said.The PGC estimate the current number of turkeys is a tad over 212,000. The mild winter has also been a benefit to the flock. According to the Commission 37,300 birds were harvested last year (down approximately 3,000 compared to 2018). It has also been reported that this is the third consecutive year that over 20,000 second tags were purchased. While we continue to adjust our lives to fight the pandemic the PGC is continuing their work while using the mandated etiquette according to Edmiston. “As far as law enforcement we are considered essential employees. We’ve been provided the proper PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) to be able to make those contacts with the public. If there is somebody out there that we need to make contact we have the mask and gloves,” she said while also pointing out the help the Commission has received from Chicken Hill Distillery. “We weren’t able to get hand sanitizer. They switched over to making it. They’ve done a great job. They’ve sold it statewide to the Game Commission, the Fish Commission, and the DCNR (PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. They’ve taken orders and have fulfilled the orders in a very timely fashion. It has been a big help for everyone that had trouble getting hand sanitizer,” Edmiston said.