As this is written, it is once again the dead of winter in northern Michigan, and although December was very mild, it’s been very cold since then, with more than a foot of snow on the ground in many areas, which makes it pretty tough for our wild turkey flocks.
Especially when they’re not getting anything to eat. Which is why the numbers of wild turkeys in the northwestern portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula have dropped so dramatically in the last two years in many areas. Nowadays, you’ll drive 100 miles and never see one single wild turkey, then suddenly you’ll see several flocks just a few miles apart. That tells you, right there, that someone is feeding those birds. They would not have survived last winter if they had not been fed a steady supply of nutritious, energy rich food like shelled corn.
That someone might be one of our chapters, like the very active Pere Marquette Chapter, or it might be a private citizen, as is the case in most of the tip of the mitt, including the entire area formerly known as Area J. Whatever the case, if you see wild turkeys out there this winter, find out who’s feeding them and offer to help by buying a bag or two of corn or donating a few dollars. Everyone needs to do their part to keep what’s left of the wild turkey resource in northern lower Michigan going.
In this issue, you’ll find an article by our own Jim Maturen about an interesting incident that he had last fall while attending a Natural Resources Commission meeting, and a comment he overheard by one of the Commissioners that “MWTHA hates the DNR”.
Nothing could be further from the truth, Jim will tell you. I agree wholeheartedly. Michigan is graced with the finest DNR Law Enforcement officers on earth, and I am lucky enough to be good friends with several. I also have nothing but admiration for our field people in the regional offices, although I do wish they could unchain themselves from that office and spend more time in the field than they do these days.
It’s the brass at the top of the chain in their Mason Building offices in Lansing that we have problems with- simply because, although they may all have good intentions, they just haven’t got a clue as to what’s going on in the real world out there today. And they are quick to take credit for something-like our northern wild turkey numbers that in reality they haven’t had anything to do with since the first release boxes were opened back in the 80’s. Or to pat themselves on the back for planting a handful of crab apple trees in the Pigeon River that were eaten by the elk as soon as they departed.
MWTHA will once again be present at several outdoor shows throughout the state in the next few weeks, and of course, you won’t want to miss the annual Rendezvous in Baldwin at the end of March. Be sure to attend some or all of these events and support the only wild turkey organization in Michigan that truly supports our wild turkeys.