All-day gobbler season continues ’til Saturday

Pennsylvania turkey hunters now are permitted to hunt from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset through the end of the spring season.

The expanded hunting hours continue through the last day of the season, Saturday.

All-day hunting during the second half of the spring season began in 2011 to provide interested hunters with more time to be afield.

“By the second half of the season, hunter participation decreases significantly and nesting hens are less prone to abandon nests,” said Mary Jo Casalena, Game Commission wild turkey biologist. “All-day hunting during this portion of the season has had minimal impact to nesting.”

Casalena said the overall spring harvest since 2011 has not increased from previous harvests.

Since 2011, afternoon and evening harvests have comprised 5 percent of the total reported harvests and 20 percent of harvests during the all-day portion of the seasons. In other words, even during the all-day portions of the season, 80 percent of the harvests have occurred before noon.

Casalena said the majority of the afternoon and evening harvests have occurred between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

She said the Game Commission will continue to monitor the afternoon harvest in relation to population trends and age class of gobblers to gauge the impact of all-day hunting. Among the 49 states that conduct turkey seasons, Pennsylvania is one of the 34 that conduct all-day hunting for all or part of the season, she said.