So it was that at 1:00 P.M. on May 7th I glanced out the little window in my camo tent and discovered that three large jakes had materialized in the power line break, about 100 yards to the east. They spotted “Martha,” with the Feather Vest, and headed my way at a good clip. They didn?t notice the camo barrel of my turkey gun slide out the window. The last bird in line passed my forty yard marker just as he appeared in my scope! Boom! Down he went, flopping wildly. His too compatriots proceeded to stomp him.

This is not unusual behavior in wild turkeys. Any sign of weakness or incapacity will trigger an aggressive response..

It was an unusually large jake, weighing 18 lbs. and with a five-inch beard.

This marked two years in a row that I?d not heard a single gobble! Twenty years ago, I used to enjoy a “run „n gun” type of turkey hunting on large tracks of public land. There were a lot of turkeys there then. Today there are none or at least very few. No one seems to have a good explanation as to what happened to them. The heaviest concentration of turkeys now exist on private farms in southern Michigan.

Turkeys are like deer and other types of game animals. These are two kinds that appear identical, but are anything but. One type is subject to a lot of hunting pressure and the other very light pressure or none at all!

Friends have told me when I mention turkey hunting that I should come to their house and shoot one in their back yard! Those back yard turkeys have nothing in common with the ones I hunt in the woods!

EDITOR’S NOTE:

This is the last contribution to Michigan Turkey Tracks by Doc Martin. On June 14 Doc drowned while fishing for trout on the Pere Marquette River. He went to his cottage to fish the Caddis hatch. When he didn?t return home his wife Jackie notified the state police. An extensive search was conducted and he was eventually found in the river.

Doc could always be counted on to have a story for Michigan Turkey Tracks and a great story teller he was. He had a unique way of telling of his experiences. For those of you who attended the Turkey Hunters Rendezvous for the past several years Doc was instructor of the mouth calling class as well as one of the judges of the turkey calling championships. Doc also assisted at our booth at the Grand Rapids hunting expo. Doc was a key member of the Pere Marquette Chapter who attended almost every meeting. He truly believed in MWTHA. His input and wisdom was appreciated. He will be sorely missed.

BON VOYAGE DOC!

 

Of Public Forests and Turkeys X
Traverse Bay Chapter Notes - September 2012