It’s been a very long winter. Especially for our wild turkeys, which have had to withstand the coldest temperatures the state of Michigan has seen in many, many years. If you are helping our wild turkeys survive by feeding them, our hat is off to you and you have our deepest appreciation. Without our help, the wild turkey cannot survive the winters of northern Michigan.
To help the winter pass, once again plans are in the works for a variety of MWTHA banquets and spring hunting workshops – our primary fundraisers for our feeding programs, as well as another visit to a variety of outdoor shows. Be sure to attend these functions, details of which you’ll find on our site, and support your local chapter of MWTHA!
After an exceptionally cool and wet fall, winter began in Area J just before Christmas, and with the exception of a brief thaw in January, hasn’t let up since, with more than 136 inches of snow so far. But even worse than the deep snow has been the extreme cold, the coldest any of us have seen in many, many years.
This past December our organization was represented at the state forest compartment reviews within four counties in the DNR Cadillac district. Once again, we were the only ones other than DNR personnel present. Where were the “save the habitat – save the hunt people?”
On January 2, 2014, I received a phone call from a land owner in northern Osceola County. He had planted four acres of corn, which produced a great crop. The corn was gone having been eaten by all of the wildlife and he had 57 turkeys picking on the stalks for food. He was allocated a supply of corn, always without charge.
This is being written during the third week in January. Winter came early with deep snow, ice that prevents access to the ground and brutally cold weather. As I write this it is 22 degrees below zero in Grayling.
As I sit here typing this article, I can’t help but think about the turkeys. It is -4 F outside with the wind blowing 22 MPH. We have received several inches of snow. The snow has melted once already this year and has created an almost impenetrable crust for the turkeys. We have supplied more than three tons of corn to feed the turkeys so far this winter. If this weather doesn’t break soon our wildlife will be in dire straits!
The following article appeared in the COMMENTARY of the October 25, 2013 edition of Michigan Outdoor News. Although deer is the topic, it is just as appropriate to insert turkeys, grouse, woodcock, rabbits or hare.
I am responding to the commentary by Quality Deer Management Association member Paul Plantinga that appeared in the August 30 issue of Michigan Outdoor News. In his article, he quotes statistics on the loss of hunters from Michigan and infers that the loss of deer hunters is due to our hunters leaving the state in a quest for large-antlered bucks. There is much more to the loss than he suggests.