Sunday, May 21, 2017

How much woods technology is too much?

Image result for electronic turkey call

How much is too much when it comes to technology in the hunting woods? 
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is debating that right now.
Three manufacturers and retailers of electronic products approached Game Commissioners earlier this year to ask that those items be made legal for hunting.
Jonathan Kalasinski of Heated Hunts in Clarks Summit makes a battery-operated scent dispenser. Users load up to one ounce of deer urine or other scents in the device then turn it on. Heated vapors escape and, presumably, attract game.
The fact that Pennsylvania doesn't currently permit them is putting his 7-month-old company “at risk,” Kalasinski said.
Sheri Baity of Crow's Nest Calls in Covington asked that hunters be allowed to use the Nite Site scope-mounted lights she sells at her predator hunting website. They are not infrared and do not track an animal's heat signature, she said. Nor do they make a rifle more accurate.
They do, however, allow hunters — typically out at night after coyotes and the like — to see entire targets. That, she said, promotes safety.
“I have found that when using the lighting (currently) allowed for coyote hunting, the eyes of the animal are illuminated. But the rest of the body is still a shadowy figure,” Baity said.
“I don't feel it allows the whole target to be safely and positively identified.”
Finally, Mike Dillon, general manager of FoxPro in Lewistown, asked commissioners to legalize electronic turkey calls. Five other states already permit them, he said.
Electronic turkey calls are not, as some believe, as effective as mouth or hand calls, Dillon said. But they do make it possible for beginners to get in the woods sooner. They're also safer, he said.
“By positioning the call away from a turkey hunter, the risk of being shot by another hunter is minimized,” Dillon said.
Commissioners had questions. Some centered around fair chase.
Another focused on what might be called woodsmanship.
Commissioner Jim Daley of Butler County said learning to use a turkey hand or mouth call takes time and practice. That extends the season.
“But I think you're going to lose that long-term commitment to turkey hunting when a person only has to put a new battery in and turn it on,” Daley said.
The rules regarding electronics previously have been updated to allow for hearing amplification devices, laser rangefinders and lighted nocks, among other things. Perhaps it's time to look at them again, Kalasinski said.
Commissioners agreed. They tasked agency staff with looking into the products and coming back with recommendations, perhaps as early as the board's June meeting.
“I think it's time we take a look at it, review it, see if there is any way we can introduce some of these devices as long as the resources are kept in mind,” said commissioner Tim Layton of Somerset County.
Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-216-0193 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

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