Participants in the Lee Sportsmen’s Association’s Youth Turkey Hunt Day outing pose with some of the turkeys they bagged.
Participants in the Lee Sportsmen’s Association’s Youth Turkey Hunt Day outing pose with some of the turkeys they bagged. (Gene Chague / Special to the Eagle)

The rain didn't dampen the spirits of a number of youths who took to the woods last Saturday to bag a wild turkey. That day marked the opening of the Youth Turkey Hunt Day, which was reserved just for youths 12-17 years of age. Several area sportsmen's clubs including the Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club (SSC), Lee Sportsmen's Association (LSA), Cheshire Rod & Gun Club (CR&G), East Mountain Sportsmen's Club and the Worthington Rod & Gun Club participated in the youth hunt program. This year I covered the LSA.

Of the seven youths that participated in the LSA hunt, four of them were successful and bagged one jake (sexually immature male wild turkey) and three toms. The largest tom weighed 221 2 pounds and was bagged by Hunter Briggs. His dad Rob was quite proud of him because two toms were so close together, he could have taken both with one shot.

Instead, he waited until the two separated to take his shot. That's the type of sportsmanship that is taught in the Youth Turkey Hunt Program.

Matt Driscoll weighed in a respectable bird, one weighing 20-plus pounds which had an 8-inch beard. He took it with a 40-yard shot using a 20-gauge shotgun. Other hunters included Brian Dubois, Travis Bush, Connor Larock, Liam Shields and Andrew Murray. Mentors included Rob and Cliff Briggs, Matt Ranzoni, Todd Bush, Bob Jones, Mark Bartini, and Stone Burdick. Apologies if I missed anyone.

One team got stuck up on Beartown Mountain and rescuers had to be dispatched.


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When they arrived at the clubhouse, they were razzed by fellow hunters saying. "You know they close roads for a reason, don't you?"

Once everyone returned, they were treated to a tasty lunch, had their pictures taken and learned how to process the birds. Not much of the bird was wasted. In addition to the meat, feathers were saved for decorations, fly tying, etc. The beards and feet were saved for display, some bones were saved to make turkey calls, and the spurs were saved to make necklaces.

Meanwhile, the folks at the SSC also had a great hunt. Of the 12 young hunters there, eight were successful. The other four took shots at turkeys but missed. Participating were Ryan Havel, Zachary Stoll-Tinker, Nick Bryant, Nick Errichetto, Jackson Cunningham, Michael Buffoni Jr, Ryan Smyth, Jack O'Brien, Kade Groeber, Nick Puntin, Nick Powers and Chris Massini. Click onto Berkshireoutdoorsman.com to see their picture.

No word was received as to how the other local clubs did. Similar events were conducted all across the state and, according to Andrew Madden, DFW Western District Manager, some 43 birds were checked in electronically that day and surely others were probably checked in physically.

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The following local waters were scheduled to be stocked with trout last week: Westfield River in Becket, Chester, Cummington, Huntington, Middlefield, Russell, Savoy and Windsor; Deerfield River in Buckland, Charlemont and Florida; Greenwater Pond, North Pond, Upper Highland Lake, Town Brook in Lanesborough, Laurel Lake, Goose Pond, Lake Garfield, Big Pond, Otis Reservoir, Onota Lake, Richmond Pond, Stockbridge Bowl, Green River and Hemlock Brook in Williamstown. Tiger trout were stocked into Big Pond, Otis Reservoir and Stockbridge Bowl.

Thanks to Elna Castonguay for providing the stocking information. She is the very pleasant and helpful receptionist at the DFW Western District Headquarters in Dalton. After 30 years of dedicated service, she is retiring from the division on May 16. Maybe some of us should stop up there this week and hassle her one last time.

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Next Sunday, from dawn until 3 p.m., the Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club will be having its annual spring fishing derby at the Stockbridge Bowl boat ramp. Prizes of $100 will be awarded for the heaviest trout or salmon, pickerel, bass and bullhead. Free lures will be given to all kids 12 and under. The pre-registration fee is $10, post-registration is $15.Tickets are available at the Minkler Insurance Agency in Stockbridge.

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The Lee Sportsmen's Club will be conducting a basic pistol class on May 19. Contact Larry Karlquist at (413)-442-7807 for more information.

Questions/comments: Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com. Phone/fax:(413) 637-1818.