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McGuire's Musings: Lost In Space robot

May 17, 2013

It's dark. You've gotten up out of bed at 4 a.m. — or never went to bed to begin with — and all in the name of hunting a spring gobbler.

For the last 15 years or so, I've been out with my oldest son, Joe, in pursuit of the elusive spring gobbler.

I say elusive, because these turkeys have nothing to fear from me, since I've not successfully harvested one of the big birds in all of these years.

Not only have I not harvested a bird, but I've never even seen one up close enough to fire a shot.

One positive is that I save a lot of cash by not having to buy shotgun shells every year.

However, if you're looking for a quiet time to spend with Mother Nature in the woods, I strongly recommend 4 a.m.

You'll not find a darker or quieter place than the woods of Western Pa.

The transformation from the dark, quiet woods to a noisy bird sanctuary seems to happen gradually as you await sunrise and for the turkeys to jump out of their roosts and go about their business.

I've been told the secret to hunting these birds is calling them in with a hen call.

The problem is, once a gobbler runs into a real hen, he is no longer interested in your phony call and decoy hen.

This is after you've been sitting in the woods in the dark waiting to hear the gobblers start gobbling.

Sometimes the birds talk to you, and sometimes they don't.

When they don't talk to you, they are either not interested in what you have to offer, or they're not there.

There's one good thing about not successfully hunting — you get to go home early and back to bed.

On another note, it seems all those years of watching "The Jetsons" and "Lost in Space" on a black-and-white television has finally paid off.

Those shows featured robots like Rosie ("The Jetsons") and the robot that was featured on "Lost In Space" back in the 60s.

Even though it has been a long time coming, it's good to see that robots have arrived at Punxsutawney Area High School (PAHS), home of the Weather Capital Robotics Club (the PAHS Competitive Robotics Club).

Keith Hughes, advisor for the club that was founded in the fall of 2008, said the robotics team was formed to provide students with an engaging, realistic and practical engineering experience.

The club played a video clip at a recent school board meeting featuring the epic battle between "War Monger" from PAHS versus "Sonic the Wedge Hog" from Greater Latrobe High School at the California University of Pennsylvania BOTS IQ program.

"War Monger" was the winner over the BOT from Latrobe.

So, not only have robots arrived in Punxsy, but they are defeating other robots in competition.

You never saw that happen back in the 60s on "Lost In Space," did you?

According to Wikipedia, "The robot on 'Lost In Space' is a Class M-3 Model B9, General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot, which had no given name.

"Although a machine endowed with superhuman strength and futuristic weaponry, he often displayed human characteristics such as laughter, sadness and mockery, as well as singing and playing the guitar."

As advanced as that robot was, I don't think it could've handled "War Monger."

Which brings me back to turkey hunting.

Why not have robot turkeys roaming the woods, since the real ones appear to be in no real danger from most of us turkey hunters?

Maybe I'd have a better chance with a robot turkey than the real thing.

The only problem I can see with that is that it would interrupt my nap that I take in the woods in the middle of the night.

Hey, it's peaceful.

Larry McGuire is a reporter for The Punxsutawney Spirit. He enjoys some good snacks while watching television — but not while hunting turkeys.

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