Thankfully, we were given the go-ahead to continue our feeding programs for our wild turkeys, as long as we did everything possible to avoid feeding the deer, which for most of us is something we figured out how to do a long time ago when we realized that feeding deer is very, very expensive.
So the platforms, barrels, trailers, anything it took to keep the com away from the deer, came out, and most chapters, if not all, were feeding by January 1. Some of us, like the Traverse Bay Chapter, rationed our com due to a lack of finances, and found out, happily, that wild turkeys can get through a winter on a whole lot less than we’d ever thought possible. And some of us ended our feeding season early, which the Traverse Bay Chapter was forced to due at the end of February. It wasn’t something we did easily. Luckily, property owners picked up the ball where the MWTHA could not.
As a result, in many areas of the north, there were still wild turkeys to hunt-but in many areas, mostly where people were afraid to feed or weren’t there at all anymore because they were forced to move because of the lousy economy, there are now a whole lot less wild turkeys in northern Michigan. In some areas, hundreds fewer.
As this is written, the hatch in many areas appears to be very low, perhaps due to a much cooler summer and a great deal of rain during the critical month of July, when many poults first hit the ground.
The DNR has decided, despite protests, to implement a fall season in Area J, which had a harder winter than anywhere last winter, apparent proof that our 2008/2009 feeding program there was successful. Many of us won’t be buying tags in protest of that decision. But once again the DNR will undoubtedly profit from what they refuse to assist us with in any way.
Most of us will instead start making plans to make sure we get our wild turkeys through yet another winter.
Have a great fall!