After what was undoubtedly the mildest winter since “the winter that never happened” of 2011/2012, and in- credible relief after the killer winters of the last two years, those of us who took after gobblers this past spring en- joyed and almost normal, weather-wise, spring hunt that reminded us of our early days when northern Michigan had lots of wild turkeys!

Well, at least, most of the people I know did. Why? Because they knew where the turkeys were fed last winter, and scouted around those areas.

Fed? During a mild winter like last winter? In Area J in northwestern lower Michigan, where during February and into March we still had many areas with two feet of snow that soon hardened to something akin to concrete with constant thaws and freezes, yes, we fed.

Thankfully, they were. So many of us had good seasons.

But, still, I heard from more than a few people, who “couldn’t find any birds”. A few minutes of chatting with them revealed that many of those people weren’t even in northern Michigan last winter, and didn’t spend any time worrying about the birds’ survival, much less helped all of the private property owners that fed the birds out of their own pockets.

And now, having spent a whole hour scouting, they couldn’t find any birds. Well, no surprise there. So, like may of you did, I’m sure, I smiled and politely pointed these folks in a general direction, but I wasn’t about to go out of my way to help anyone who won’t help us . . . and the wild turkeys of northern Michigan.

With the mild spring and decent summer weather, we’re now getting reports of a bumper crop of poults out there in some areas. But I’m not getting excited – there’s way too many predators that love nothing better than turkey for supper to do that. And we have another winter to think about already.

Like I’ve done for the past several years, with another fall hunting season to consider, I’ll probably buy a tag . . . but I doubt I’ll fill it. Not with that winter in front of us.

Instead, once again, along with everyone else who cares about wild turkeys up here, I’ll do my best to see to it that those poults get through the winter ahead. Maybe some of those turkey hunters who couldn’t find ay birds this spring will help out.

I won’t be holding my breath about that. But, you never know . . . and wouldn’t it be nice? Have a great fall!

North Central Chapter