Although, thankfully, the winter of 2012-2013 held off until just a few weeks ago, we do have a winter in most of northern Michigan, with some areas as of early February buried with up to two feet of snow.
Because of that, although funds are very limited for some chapters, winter supplemental feeding programs have started to help our northern wild turkeys survive the deep snows. Many private property owners are helping us with this effort, as well as feeding on their own, out of their own pockets, for which we are very grateful.
For the first time in the history of the Traverse Bay Chapter of MWTHA, almost no feeding at all was done in Area J last winter, with the exception of a few hundred pounds of corn dolled out in the high snow areas near Boyne Mountain, Gaylord and Mancelona.
And for the first time in many years, the chapter conducted a tree and shrub habitat sale, which was successful in raising a few dollars for the chapter and getting some mast bearing trees into the woods, We will be conducting the sale again this winter, look for information soon on the MWTHA website and Facebook page!
After what was undoubtedly the mildest winter in the history of MWTHA, those of us who took after gobblers this past spring enjoyed an almost normal, albeit a bit warm, spring hunt that reminded us of our early days when northern Michigan had lots of wild turkeys!
With very little winter feeding, for most of us none at all, necessary last winter, our chapters were able to save thousands of dollars in corn funds—a good thing looking at what corn prices will probably be this fall due to the drought in the corn belt.
The lack of winter this year certainly is something to remember. The mild winter has also had another benefit-there’s been no drain on the Traverse Bay Chapter’s treasury this winter for very, very expensive shelled corn ($270 a ton!!), and we now have a chance to recover at least some of our bank balance that has fallen dangerously close to zero.
It certainly has been a winter to remember this year! Or rather, a non-winter, with very little or no extreme cold and deep snow at all! In fact, up here in Antrim County, the snow belt of the northern Lower Peninsula, we’ve had less than 55 inches of snow since October 1 as of Thursday, February 9!