How do you measure success in the turkey woods of Michigan? For some; it’s the view down the top of the 12 gauge locked on to the brilliant red head of a Boss Gobbler at 25 yards. Others, just as happy to put a tender young Tom on the table.

Still others are enchanted by the close-up love song scenario played out by hen and tom and no matter what you do, no matter how sweet you sing, not matter, no matter, no matter what you do, you just can’t pull mister long beard away from Missy Hen. This time you are condemned to only be a spectator. If my math is correct this is my 30th spring turkey season in Michigan and many times I have found myself in each of those situations; likely more often than not I play the spectator role. But, that’s OK with me . . . It’s an awesome spectacle.

One thing many of you will agree with me on is that the spring turkey season 2014 was different . . . Much different than any I can recall. When the cold and the snow came early last fall, I figured it wouldn’t last long (given global warming and all). But it just hung on, and on, and on and then it got even worse. Throughout January and February consecutive nights at -15, -20 degrees and some nights even colder, and by early February the snow was so deep my quad was useless and I had to use a snow sled to move bags of corn to fill my turkey feeder. I was certain the winter kill on Michigan’s wildlife would be massive and profound. It made me so appreciate every bag of corn that the MWTHA distributed —17 tons of bagged corn this year in the North Central Chapter. One afternoon in late February as I approached my turkey feeder I spotted a fox squirrel and 2 rabbits eating corn on the snow. My normal response would have been to make a pie out of the pair of rabbits and spin the squirrel’s tail into some fine trout flies. But I let them all go . . . Happy see that anything could survive this dreadful winter! By the 10th of March a day time high temperature of 15 degrees seemed like a good ay for a walk in the park.

As promised the seasons will change, and they did. The cold and deep snow turned little by little into a little less snow and not quite so cold. Eventually, we called it spring. The first hunt was cold and wet, ditto for the second hunt. I must say however, the mosquito season (234 late hunt) with the help of a little warmth and sunshine lived up to its name! I think I may have slaughtered enough mosquitos this spring to feed an entire starving nation in Africa. Due to my daughter’s total disregard for my hunting of Wild Turkeys (which I have done every year since she was in diapers) and her wedding plans, gave me cause to choose the 234 late season hunt rather than opt for one of the earlier hunts. Of course I was Ok with that, if fact in later years I actually prefer the mosquito season.

In all I hunted about 10 days this spring, mostly in Clare County but I also hunted Gladwin and Midland counties as well. All of which are part of the MWTHA North Central Michigan Chapter. This year I fed up to 120 turkeys on my property in Clare County . . . when late season came I did not see a feather on my property. In some of my other favorite haunts that I consider and old reliable location . . . nothing! But I didn’t give up. For reasons only turkeys know I found just as many birds as in years past but they were in different wood lots or different cover than in previous years. Maybe a 1/4 mile difference, maybe a mile or more but they were there. Perhaps an area greened-up sooner, or maybe they were pushed from an area by predators, or maybe, just maybe somebody new on the block took to providing winter survival corn in order to help manage the wildlife. I can’t be certain why, but something made the difference! It makes me proud to be a part of the MWTHA! It was a great turkey season . . . different, but great just the same! I am looking forward to another great season next year.

Pere Marquette Chapter Fall 2014 Update
Winter is Time for Sound Science