Along with their mentors, youths took to the woods in the wee morning hours last Saturday morning, taking advantage of the special Youth Turkey Hunting day.
The early morning weather couldn't have been better and lots of gobblers were seen by most. Rick Gale was responsible for teaching the class and organizing the hunts for the Cheshire Rod & Gun Club.
Eleven kids participated with five of them bagging gobblers. Three others had shot opportunities but didn't connect. Successful hunters were 13-year old Grace Krzanik, who was mentored by her father Scott. This was her third season hunting and first tom. She took it at 23 yards and it weighed 19 lbs.
Fourteen-year old Bryant Martin, who was mentored by Bill Adelt, took a 20 lb., 12 oz. tom at 30 yards. Both were one-shot kills. Other successful hunters were Mia Gale, Lucas Jamros and Paolo Kareh, but they did not return to the club after their hunt.
At the Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club, spokesman Mike Buffoni reported that 18 youths went out and six of them got gobblers. All of them saw plenty of turkeys and had a great day.
The largest tom, weighing in at 21 lbs., was taken by Matthew Fletcher of Lenox (sorry, I was unable to get the names of the other successful hunters). Buffoni reported that there were a lot of big toms around this year due to the non-existent winter.
At the Lee Sportsmen's Association, spokesman Matt Ranzoni reported that six youths participated and three of them were successful.
The lucky hunters were Owen Bush, Hunter Briggs and Donovan Caccomo (Donovan came all the way from Milton, N.Y. to participate). All three birds were jakes. The other hunters also came close to bagging their birds.
It is interesting to note that some of this year's mentors participated in the Youth Turkey Hunt when they were kids and they are now passing on their knowledge to younger hunters, such was the case with Sam Polastri. He was mentored by his dad John and now that he has turned 18, he was mentoring his younger friend Matt LeProvost this year.
After the hunts, each club provided tasty lunches.
Incidentally, the regular spring turkey hunting season opened the following Monday and runs until May 21. Turkey hunting is one of the most dangerous types of hunting. Unfortunately, we had an accidental shooting last week in Williamstown.
If you have youngsters interested in taking up this sport, I strongly urge that you to get them enrolled into next year's Youth Turkey Hunt program. If you plan to be a mentor, you might listen in yourself. Check out the MassWildlife website to find out which local clubs are involved, how the program works and how to enroll.
The following waters were scheduled to be stocked with trout last week: Westfield River in Chester, Chesterfield, Huntington, Middlefield, Russell, and Worthington, Housatonic River in Hinsdale and Dalton, Hop Brook in Tyringham and Lee, Pelham Brook in Charlemont and Rowe, Sackett Brook in Dalton and Pittsfield, Farmington River in Otis and Sandisfield, Hudson Brook in Clarksburg, Kinderhook Creek in Hancock, Bennett Brook in Hinsdale, Yokun Brook in Lenox, Dunbar Brook in Monroe, Trout Brook in Peru, Windsor and Westfield Brooks in Windsor, Norwich Pond and Littleville Lake in Huntington, Goose Pond, Windsor Lake in North Adams, Big Pond in Otis, Onota Lake, Pelham Lake in Rowe, and Stockbridge Bowl.
The Lee Sportsmen's Association will stage a steel fun match at the club on Thursday, May 5, starting at 5:30 p.m.
Rim fire and center fire pistols only, 9mm to .45. No Magnums. Steel is five consecutive rounds, so it works best if you have five magazines that you can change one right after another. But, if you don't, they can accommodate by having a person reload. Match cost is $7.
Also at the Lee club, the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is having a mandatory orientation for new shooters on May 7 at 10 a.m. prior to its scheduled match.
The match cost is $15, with sign-up by 12 p.m. There will be a safety briefing at 12:45 p.m with first shot at 1 p.m. Cold Range Rules apply, six stages, bring 150 rounds. There will be a classifier after the match for an additional cost of $15.
For more information on both of the above events, contact Shawn Sullivan at email@example.com.
Ducks Unlimited Banquet
The Berkshire Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will be having its annual banquet at the Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club on Saturday, May 14 from 5 to 9 p.m.
There will be general raffle prizes, a silent and live auction. Proceeds will be used to support wetlands conservation.
Tickets cost $40 and can be obtained from Joe Delsoldato at 413-717-0983 or from JP Murphy at 413-822-3915 or from Dave's Sporting Goods in Pittsfield.
Questions/comments: Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com. Phone: (413) 637-1818.