Ground blinds help youngsters bag turkeys

Hunting from camouflage ground blinds can be very successful when pursuing spring turkeys judging by the end results of these area youths who participated in the youth hunt last weekend.

Darren Freling and his son, Andrew Coniglio of Fredonia, reported a successful hunt on Sunday, the second day of the youth hunt weekend.

The duo were hunting from a ground blind with a three-deke setup and some mighty-convincing calling. The big bird strutted in to within 9 yards of the blind before Andrew tipped the bird over with one well-placed 3-inch magnum shot from his 20 gauge Remington shotgun. Andrew’s first bird was a nice one, weighing in at 18 1/2 pounds with a 9-inch beard and 1 1/4-inch-long spurs.

Braden Lesch also had success during the youth hunt weekend.

Braden, who is 13 years old was hunting with his brother, 15-year-old Jacob and Andy Joy, in Stockton.

By 8 a.m., the hunters had seen several birds, but passed up on them because they were a bit too far. Opting not to use any decoys, Joy did some sweet talking on a mouth call trying to lure in an amorous pursuer.

A sly old bird slipped in from behind and was about 20 yards away before the young hunter put the sights on his prey. One shot sealed the deal for the excited young hunter. His first bird weighed in at 17 pounds with an 8-inch-long beard and 1 1/4-inch-long spurs. Jacob bagged his first bird last year during the 2013 youth hunt.

Fifteen-year-old Markus Bentley also had success during the youth turkey hunt while hunting with his grandfather Perry “Rag Arm” Sprague.

Most people don’t even know “Rag Arm’s” name is Perry. The pair were set up in Arkwright.

They walked and listened for active birds and finally found some vocal birds. Marcus set up in front of his grandfather with his back to a big tree while Perry did the same a few feet behind him.

They traveled light with no decoys and the mentor put out some calls on his Quaker Boy box call. There was a quick response.

After waiting a few minutes, which seemed like an eternity, the call was employed again and the bird answered much closer now.

Marcus put the sights on the big bird at 32 yards and the 835 12 gauge Ultra Mag loaded with No. 4 shot tipped the big gobbler over. The bird weighed in at 19 1/2 pounds with an 8 3/4-inch beard and 3/4-inch spurs. A photo will appear when space allows. Congratulations.


Application forms for the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club’s Take-A-Kid Fishing day on June 7 are available now at the “Con Club. “

Point Blank Outdoors, a group of local outdoorsmen, will appear on the sportsmen’s channel in May with film footage from the Dunkirk area. The show will be starting Saturday, May 10 at 7:30 a.m., Monday, May 12 at 1 p.m. and Friday, May 16 at 4 p.m. PBO will also be filming the entire Sunset Bay Walleye Shootout in July this year. This event will host a compliment of 65 teams with a waiting list. The event is unique, too, in that they offer a 100 percent payout. More information later.

The Bear Lake Club will hold a trail camera contest May 18 and Sept. 14. Send pictures to the Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club, P.O. Box 151 Stockton, N.Y. 14784, or bring your pictures to the club the day of the contest. Entry fee is $5 per photo. You can enter new and old photos and the public is invited to attend to help vote on the winners. For more information, contact Tom Kessler at 680-0209 or Tim Abbey at 792-6519. The Bear Lake Club will host 3-D archery shoots May 18, May 25, June 22, July 13, Aug. 24 and Sept. 14. They will also host a 200-yard gun shoot June 8 and Sept. 21. New members are welcome and the club’s monthly meetings are on the first Sunday of the month at 4 p.m. They start the meeting off with a hot meal, so come hungry.

Southtowns walleye will host a one-day yellow perch contest on May 17 for $10 per entry. Cash prizes, free perch dinner and lots of fun are on the agenda. Participants must be a member. Southtown Walleye’s annual walleye tournament is June 7-14. Must be a member and $35 entry per contestant. Note that there will be numerous prize giveaways at the monthly meetings in May and June for members entered in the Walleye tournament. Be sure to bring your tournament form or sign up at the May meeting.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to

The Cassadaga Lakes Association will be holding their 21st annual Lew Mead Youth Fishing Tournament on Saturday, June 28th at the DEC boat launch on Dale Drive, Cassadaga from 7 until 11:30 a.m. The contest is FREE and open to youths 16 years of age and under. Sign up at the site before fishing. More info later.

The Chautauqua County Sports Fishing Advisory Board has finished reading and judging over 400 essays written by Chautauqua County youngsters. Various CCSFAB members and our County Executive, Vince Horrigan, will be visiting local schools and handing out awards and certificates.

If your club is hosting a shooting event or training course (turkey shoot, etc.), drop a line and I will be glad to place an announcement in the calendar. I also am available to take photos and hear your success stories by calling 366-1772 or 467-2079.