A note from Pasadena's Chuck Lewis, the vice president of the Central Maryland Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, reminds me that the start of Maryland's first modern-era statewide spring turkey season is only a month away.
The spring is the most exciting time to hunt turkeys. The trick to success is calling a romantic tom into the range of your shotgun's pattern. A turkey doesn't hear or smell especially well, but his eyesight is legendary.
Right now is the time to begin scouting out a hunting spot. The closer you get to the first day's hunt, the more intense your pre-scouting should become because the successful hunter must locate a bird's roost. Set up near the roost the afternoon before the hunt, picking a spot that offers excellent cover but unobstructed shooting lanes. Mark it so that it can be easily found in the next morning's dark.
Turkeys fly to their roosts at dusk and you can often entice them to gobble, thus pinpointing that spot, by sounding a crow call.
Good roosting spots to scout are along creeks and below bluffs, in swamps and hardwood bottoms and stands of tall trees sporting lots of horizontal branches. You can expect to find feathers and droppings under a roosting site.
The Federation's 3rd Annual Fund Raising Banquet & Auction featuring exclusive wildlife paintings, jewelry, taxidermy and sporting goods will be March 31 at the Odenton volunteer Fire Hall. Tickets are $35 for individuals, $50 for couples and $20 for 17 and under. In addition to dinner, you get NWTF membership and subscriptions to Turkey Call and The Caller magazines. Call Dane Lance at 730-9780 or Glen Horrell at 987-2025 for details and tickets.
The Department of Natural Resources has scheduled four public hearings on proposed changes to this year's hunting seasons and regulations. Possible changes include a youth-only hunt and some upland game season changes. Comments also will be received concerning existing seasons, bag limits and game management practices.
Locally, the most convenient hearing probably is March 23 at the Laurel National Wildlife Visitor Center. Other scheduled hearings: March 21 at the Timber Grove Elementary School, Owings Mills (Baltimore Co.) and March 22 at Easton High School, on the Eastern Shore. There is also a hearing tomorrow at the Baltimore Pike Fire Hall in Cumberland. All meetings begin at 7 p.m.
Beat license lines
New DNR secretary John R. Griffin suggests getting licenses and registrations this month and next.
All boat registrations expired December 31, 1994, as did fishing licenses.
Speaking of licensing, Mike Hayden, of the American Sportfishing Association, recently briefed my regional outdoor writer's professional organization on computer fishing license purchase systems being used by a handful of southern and western states this year.
"Americans can buy anything these days by simply picking up their telephones and pulling out their credit cards. Why shouldn't fishing and hunting licenses be just as easy to purchase?" he said.
I understand from DNR sources that this program is still being studied for possible adoption here. Sounds like a good idea to me and it sure would make life a lot easier for lots of anglers, hunters, boat owners.