To all MWTHA members and interested friends:
Time sure flies these days. It seems like the spring turkey season just ended, but we’re already looking at fall and another fall turkey season here in Area J. No one’s quite sure why we are once again having a fall turkey season here. With no organized feeding programs in this area any more, two horribly cold winters, and several late, cold springs, which along with a long list of predators has had a devastating effect on the last two nesting years, wild turkey populations have plummeted throughout the tip of the mitt. Particularly this past spring, many turkey hunters have found a total lack of birds where once they could get 10 toms to gobble at once. What few birds you did see you can be sure that someone nearby fed, at no small cost to them, to make sure they made it through the winter.
It’s a shame, and something that many of us will never get over. What’s frightening is how quickly the populations dropped … in many areas of northern lower Michigan, there are now no birds at all. Sadly, the DNR in Lansing, despite the best information from their field people, have ignored what is happening, and continues to promote northern Michigan as one of the premier turkey hunting locations in the country.
That’s because northern Michigan has more public land than anywhere in southern Michigan, and many hunters have discovered that you can have wild turkeys dripping from trees, as there apparently are in many parts of southern Michigan, but it doesn’t do you any good if you can’t access the land those birds are on.
So the DNR plants a token handful of trees in the Pigeon River for “wild turkey habitat”, which were undoubtedly eaten by the elk the next day, and continues to promote northern Michigan’s wild turkey hunting.
But the sad fact of the matter is, for most of us it’s just not there anymore. For most of us, even those of us who continue to feed small flocks every winter, the gobble of the wild turkey is be- coming a thing of the past.
But the Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association, under the unwavering guidance of Jim Maturen, continues to struggle on. And as long as he is there to guide us, we will too.
Let’s hope that Mother Nature is more forgiving this winter.