Notebook: Gobbler study in the works
Researchers from Penn State are partnering with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the National Wild Turkey Federation to study gobblers.
Specifically, researchers plan to trap, band and release 300 wild turkey gobblers in each state to determine spring gobbler harvest and survival rates. The research will also be used to determine annual turkey survival rates, non-hunting mortality of turkeys and hunter reporting rates of harvested birds.
All of the bands placed on birds will feature a toll-free phone number and an identification number. Hunters who get any of the birds are asked to call the phone number and report it. Half of the birds in each state will carry bands offering a reward, though, to give hunters an extra incentive to call in.
The study will be conducted over four years beginning in 2006.
The bill has passed the House and Senate has gone to Gov. Ed Rendell for his signature. He is expected to provide that soon.
Lawmakers around the country have been sponsoring similar bills -- about a dozen states have already passed similar laws -- because of a ranch operation in Texas. There, hunters have been able to shoot native and exotic species that were baited in simply by clicking a mouse. That fired a remote-control rifle.
The practice was touted as a way to let disabled people hunt, but critics have blasted it an unsporting.
"You have always heard about the guy who would like to tie up his deer just before the season?" said Rod Ansell, the Game Commission's wildlife conservation officer in southern Westmoreland County. "Gene did just that."
It seems a nine-point buck got its antlers caught in the netting of a batting cage on Raymond's property.
"It took three of us holding the deer and cutting the netting to release the deer unharmed," Ansell said. "It was a battle of all four participants."
The changes takes effect immediately, meaning there will be no license deadline for the current hunting year.