Last Saturday, young hunters and their mentors took to the woods to bag a turkey. It was a special day reserved just for youths 12-17 years of age who successfully completed the Youth Turkey Hunt Program.
Several sportsmen's clubs in our area, including the Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club, Lee Sportsmen's Association, Cheshire Rod and Gun Club, East Mountain Sportsmen's Club and the Worthington Rod and Gun Club, participated in the youth hunt program. This year, I covered the SSC.
Of the 14 youths that participated in the SSC hunt, six of them were successful and bagged five jakes (sexually immature male wild turkeys under 2 years old) and one tom. The largest turkey weighed 20 pounds and was bagged by Chris Massini. In addition to taking a jake, Scott Stringham saw a moose.
Mike Buffoni, chairman of the SSC program, said that the number of jakes taken showed that the adult males were preoccupied with the hens. Everyone had the same story: The toms were "henned up," meaning the hens were not going to their nests and the toms were hanging around them. Perhaps it was due to the cold spring causing late breeding.
The SSC youths and their mentors are as follows: Kadin Shafiroff with Mark Borghi, Silas Lockwood with Bob Spence, Ryan Havil with Jeff St John, Ryan Smyth with Don Langille, Nick Errichetto with Mike Buffoni/John Mange, Nick Puntin with Chris Puntin, Nick Bryant with Josh Grayworth, Brittany Collins with Chris Puntin/Brian Korte, Michael Buffoni Jr. with Jay Raifstanger, Max Buffoni with Ed Noble, Chris Massini with Tom Reynolds, Sam Harding with Brian Korte/Matt Sawyer, Zack Tinker with Dave Gilmore, and Scott Stringham with Greg Middleton.
Following the hunt, they were treated to a delicious meal prepared by club manager Peter Delgrande. It consisted of bear meat loaf, venison stew and scalloped potatoes and ham. I had some, and boy, was it good. Following lunch, the youths were taught how to dress the birds and preserve the turkey tails, beards, feathers and spurs.
The LSA had ten young hunters participating and they bagged 5 turkeys, two toms and three jakes. Their largest bird was also 20 pounds, taken by Connor Larock. Other youth participants at that club were Paddy Sullivan, Matty Kelly, Sam Polastri, David Belanger Zachary Richardson, Mathew Leprovost, Ryan Reuf, Chip Consolati and Tanner Hill. (Sorry; I did not get the names of the mentors.) According to project chairman, Matt Zamboni, they had lunch prepared by John Polastri and they also learned how to process their birds.
Details were not available as to how the other club hunters fared.
Next Saturday, the Berkshire Hatchery Foundation will hold a youth fishing derby at the lower pond at the Berkshire National Fish Hatchery. The derby, which is for kids younger than age 12, will be held from 9-10:30 a.m. Parents are asked to call ahead to (413) 528-9761 to ensure that there is room for their young anglers. At 9:30 a.m. at the Hatchery, Simon Winchester will be having a book signing of his best-selling book Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley's Curious Collection. "Skulls" is a beautiful spellbinding exploration of more than 300 different animal skulls -- amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.
The following local waters were scheduled to be stocked with trout last week: Deerfield River in Buckland, Charlemont, Florida; Westfield River in Chesterfield, Cummington, and Windsor; Chickley River in Charlemont, Hawley and Savoy; Cold River in Florida, Savoy and Charlemont, Little River in Huntington and Worthington, West Branch Brook in Chesterfield and Worthington, Farmington River in Otis and Sandisfield, Hubbard River in Granville, Kinderhook Creek in Hancock, Mill Brook in Plainfield, Westfield Brook in Windsor, Bronson Brook in Worthington, Ashfield Pond, North Pond, Upper Highland Lake, Berry Pond, Plunkett Reservoir, Littleville Lake, Pontoosuc Lake, Laurel Lake, Goose Pond, Lake Garfield, Otis Reservoir, Big Pond and Onota Lake.
The CR&G Club is once again having its monthly shoots on Saturdays starting at 10 a.m. The entry fee is $10 for first shoot and $5 for the second. Winners split the take. Next Saturday they will have centerfile-4x4 wood block shoots.
The LSA is having its Steel Challenge next Saturday. Registration is at 11:30 a.m., and matches begin at noon. The cost is $15.
To reach Gene Chague:
or (413) 637-1818.