A license to hunt Wild Turkeys began in 1977. There was a promise to turkey hunters that if they were willing to purchase a special turkey hunting license that it would be used to manage Wild Turkeys across their entire range. The law that began the license simply stated “From fees collected under subsection (1) or (2) the following amounts shall be used for scientific research, biological work on turkeys and other wild turkey management in this state.”
8/22/11 Chapter secretary Jim Skipper and I met with DNR Wildlife Chief Russ Mason and DNR upland Bird Specialist Al Stewart at the DNR RAM Center near Roscommon. Because we had another meeting in Lansing to attend it was a short meeting and the issues we wanted to deal with never were discussed. Because of the decline in turkey numbers and poor nesting success we urged them to contract a study with a university. Turkeys in a selected area would have radios attached and important information can be obtained.
The Michigan DNR is establishing three deer advisory committees, one in each region of our state. The Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association has been selected to that team.
The first organizational meeting was held at Grayling on February 11. It was a well organized meeting with a wide variety of opinions on deer management. As issues were debated it appears that MWTHA is the only participant truly representing the hunter whose only option is deer hunting on our public forests.
In the early days of turkey hunting in Area K, the turkeys were dumb and the “hunters” were dumber. It wasn’t unusual to see them marching through the woods wearing red and black deer hunting duds, hoping to flush a gobbler and shoot him! Another favorite technique was to drive the back roads, stopping now and then to get out and shake a gobble box…..’clackity, clackity, clack.’ I’ve never been able to figure out what kind of bird makes such a noise. It sure isn’t a turkey! A trip to turkey farm would have enlightened them on what turkeys sound like.
Did you ever hunt Ghost Turkeys? After 40 years of hunting I’ve had a few. One day while hunting early I gave a tree call, heard a gobble off aways, later some fly downs, more gobbles, but then the fog set in. That’s it for the gobbles. When you ca n’t see 20 feet in front of you what to do? Just set and wait when you don’t hear any turkeys. After an hour looking through the fog, is that a turkey or what? The bird just fades away to end my hunt for the day.
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.