March 2011 – Issue 30

Turkey Tails: Did you ever

Did you ever wonder about hunting? What does hunting mean? Webster says “The act of pursuing game”. A  hunter is also a person who seeks out to kill or capture for sport or food. Do you qualify as a hunter, or are you a person that uses a bait pile and shoots two bucks in 15 minutes when you only need one? Then do you complain that you didn’t have enough hunting time, while your neighbor didn’t see any bucks even after days of hunting. This would make a real hunter feel bad, because he took two bucks, leaving none for breeding or his neighbor.

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A tribute to Glen

Glen Sheppard of Charlevoix County passed away this past January. He and his wife, Mary Lou were the owners and publishers of The North Woods Call “an admittedly biased newspaper dedicated to the proposition that there is only one side in any issue involving natural resources…NATURES!”.

Glen was never politically correct. He wrote his articles telling the story just the way it was, always ruffling the feathers of the bureaucrats and politicians who compromised our natural resources. At one time he so enraged DNR director K.L. Kool that he ordered the removal of the Call from the DNR RAM center at Higgins Lake and ordered them out of all DNR offices. Glen wore that as a badge of honor.

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Disappearing hunters

This past opening day of the firearm deer season I was waiting for the first magical moments of first light. The wind was calm, with a tinge of frost in the air. With the rut in full swing it was a perfect opening morning. A quarter mile east of my stand was a 19,000 acre block of state land designated “timber intensive”.

Over the previous years less shots could be heard each passing year. This time a few shots were heard being fired from private property surrounding my location but just a very rare shot heard from state land. Four of my friends were hunting in that block. After hunting for two full days three of them saw six deer together, while one was lucky to see six deer.

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An electrifying experience

It was a late April morning several years ago as I poked my head out of the door to find a hazy moon and no wind. I went through the routine of preparing to be in the woods before first light. A short time later I was on a half a mile hike to greet those gobblers I had put to bed the night before.

This spring will be my 43rd year of chasing spring gobblers. I have been very fortunate to have lived within a short driving distance of the very first Wild Turkeys introduced into northern Michigan. The experiences of those first turkey hunters will never again be repeated. There were no videos or instructors and no turkey calls found in sporting goods stores. Spring turkey hunting was learned by trial and error. My but there was a lot of errors!

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