In the last issue of Michigan Turkey Tracks we reported on Senate Bill 412 that was introduced on our behalf by State Senator Darwin Booher. We reported on the language of the bill and the very specific reasons for it. The article stated “It is gratifying that our organization and the Michigan Chapter of the NWTF were able to set down and come up with an agreement that is agreeable to both organizations.” This was short lived as the bill moved to the House of Representatives.
Those of us who were fortunate to have hunted our 3.9 million acres of state forest during the 1940?s and early 1950?s found excellent numbers of game including deer, grouse, woodcock, rabbits and hares. Hunting on the public forests was actually fun. Today game on these same forests are severely depressed. What has happened?
Quite simply the DNR has been managing our state forests as tree farms and has invested very little resources to manage varied habitat absolutely critical to wildlife.
This article is a continuation of a series of articles on the management or rather mismanagement of our public forests in Michigan. Michigan contains more public forests than any state east of the Mississippi River. There are 7.4 million acres of public forests of which 3.9 are state forests. We have written off the 1,000,000 acre Huron-Manistee National Forest because of the 2006 plan that is so devastating to our game animals and birds. A detailed report of our appeal to the plan was published in this publication in the March 2007 issue.
(Please see Editor’s Note below for some important information) Absolutely not! Unless, of course, they happen to be the first one I see!
Six years previous to this one I killed a long beard on the first day of my hunt. This year the turkey population in my area had plummeted to where three hens and one gobbler were all that had showed up all spring. Therefore, I decide that I couldn’t afford to be too fussy.
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.