In 1983 Gary Truxton, Jay Driling and Tom Sexton from Baldwin and I met at Baldwin and formed the first local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation in Michigan, The Pere Marquette Chapter. Within a year or two we were joined by the Ausable River Valley Chapter and the Traverse Bay (Little Traverse Bay) Chapter. Collectively we were determined that the experiment of restoring Wild Turkeys to Michigan would succeed after being absent since the 1890’s.
At the time Wild Turkeys had been released in the Alegan State Forest and had been released in the Baldwin area. A few turkeys had been trapped and transferred to several counties in the northern lower peninsula.
The following contains activity by both the Pere Marquette Chapter and the state chapter. Reported by Jim Maturen, Pere Marquette Chapter President.
On 8/13/12 Traverse Bay Chapter president Rick Riley and I met with DNR Wildlife Division chief Russ Ma- son, assistant chief Doug Reves and DNR Upland Bird Specialist Al Stewart at the DNR RAM Center at Higgins Lake. Items that we brought for discussion follows.
Rick A. Lucas, guest author to MWTHA Michigan Turkey Tracks, is a Conservation District Forester.
Are you a private landowner looking for: Forestry assistance; Wildlife habitat enhancement recommendations; Tree and/or wildlife shrub planting recommendations; a free site assessment to evaluate the needs of your property?
Q.T.M. – Quality Turkey Management. There aren’t enough Gobblers left large enough to shoot, as too many folks are shooting most of the Jakes. The logical explanation of the DNR, should be Gobblers only, with a 7 inch beard and 3/4 inch Spurs to be legal. This way we will all shoot Gobblers and increase License Sales. Now we know its real easy to measure a turkey beard and spurs wile it is going thru the grass and brush, “right”?
Traverse Bay Chapter of MWTHA began very limited winter feed distribution in Gaylord, Ellsworth and Charlevoix in early February when snow levels averaged a foot or more in Michigan’s north country.
Unlike previous years, with very little fund raising in the last two years, funds are very limited, so strict restrictions limiting the program to those attempting to feed 30 or more birds on limited or low incomes were set.
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.