It was a late April morning several years ago as I poked my head out of the door to find a hazy moon and no wind. I went through the routine of preparing to be in the woods before first light. A short time later I was on a half a mile hike to greet those gobblers I had put to bed the night before.
This spring will be my 43rd year of chasing spring gobblers. I have been very fortunate to have lived within a short driving distance of the very first Wild Turkeys introduced into northern Michigan. The experiences of those first turkey hunters will never again be repeated. There were no videos or instructors and no turkey calls found in sporting goods stores. Spring turkey hunting was learned by trial and error. My but there was a lot of errors!
Ever since our website was established several years ago it has received thousands of hits each year from many countries around the globe. What other country than the United States has the most visitors? It is Russia.
The Internet is amazing in that with a press of a button information is sent all around the world in an instant. We have dealt with many issues that deal with the future of hunting that no other hunting organization has, in an effort to educate and inform.
The Traverse Bay Chapter of MWTHA opened their feed distribution sites in Gaylord and Charlevoix on December 18 when snow levels averaged a foot or more in Michigan’s north country.
Like last year, after advice from the DNR’s Doug Reeves, it was decided to distribute full rations of shelled corn at the beginning of the winter, to ensure late hatched poults had adequate nutrition to go into winter with. Half rations will be handed out later in the winter.
As this is being written during the third week of January winter has arrived. We have made an initial purchase of 10,000 pounds of corn and have distributed it to 2,062 Wild Turkeys scattered over our 13 county areas. If everyone picks up their supply of corn we will be over extended and will make another corn purchase. Turkey numbers have fallen significantly over our entire area.
Two gobblers and three hens! The first tracks of the winter, ending the suspense that some of “my” birds were surviving.
Historically, turkeys were only found in the most southern tier of counties in Michigan. Our northern flock is artificial. They need help to make it through a Michigan winter. We distribute corn, plus some individuals feed the birds on their own and, of course, they raid bird feeders intended for their small cousins.
Once again, with deep snows since the middle of November in many areas of northern Michigan, and bitter cold (down to -25 one memorable night) in January, with the continued ban on feeding deer which still has many people afraid to even fill their bird feeders, we are once again up against the wall when it comes to trying to get our wild turkeys through the winter. And once again, many of the chapters are once again conducting feeding programs, with the birds either being hand-fed or the feeders up on platforms, inside trailers, or whatever necessary to keep the deer away.