The weather has always been a hot topic amongst the outdoorsy types.
It affects everything we do and when we do it.
But this year, the subject is impossible to avoid. It's been cold. It's been windy. And it's kept a lot of folks indoors. But the below-average temperatures have been good news for one group of sportsmen. If you're a turkey hunter, cold weather is good.
In fact, this year's frigid spring is a rare treat for the folks going after the gobblers. Saturday morning marks the start of the state's month-long spring "gobbler" season -- when only the birds with beards can be harvested.
As turkeys enter the prime of their mating season, it's a perfect opportunity for hunters to hone their calling skills. This year, they may get some extra practice. Male turkeys are quite vocal when they're looking for love.
Over the last few weeks, the woods have slowly been coming alive with the familiar cackling of lustful gobblers. And thanks to this year's favorable weather, there's a strong chance those turkeys will keep singing throughout the season.
"Unlike last year's warm early spring weather, which triggered an early start to gobbling, this year's cooler-than-normal March and early April have suppressed gobbling activity," said Mary Jo Casalena, a turkey biologist with the Game Commission. "The arrival of warmer temperatures will bring more gobbling activity, and just in time for the spring turkey season."
Most hunters will tell you the prime hunting usually comes in the first week or two of the spring season. That's when the gobblers are most actively looking for a mate. By mid-May, many of the gobblers have found a hen and are getting quiet.
But this year may be different. The season may not peak until the season is well underway. That creates an interesting twist for a rather fresh set of rules implemented in Pennsylvania just a couple of years ago.
Historically, hunting for springtime turkeys was strictly a morning activity. The Game Commission made it illegal to hunt after noon. But in 2011, after strong demand from hunters, the rules changed. During the last two weeks of the spring season, the Commission lets hunters stay in the woods all day.
Biologists and game managers were in favor of the liberalized rules. With fewer turkeys on the move during the second half of the season and with hunting pressure dropping with each passing day, the turkey population would not be dramatically affected by the longer hours.
But Mother Nature may have a trick up her sleeve this year. The gobbling is not likely to stop during the first couple weeks of the season and hunters that have paid attention will likely stay in the woods deeper into May.
It could have dramatic results on this year's harvest. It's proof that all the cool weather may just pay off.
It's good news for turkey hunters and bad news for noisy gobblers.
Andy Snyder writes about the outdoors for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@york dispatch.com.