To all MWTHA members and interested friends:
As this is written, it is snowing once again here in Area J, something we’ve seen quite a bit of lately, although January temperatures were very mild and December was downright tropical, a break that all of our wildlife is in deep need of after the nightmares of the last two winters in northern Michigan-the coldest on record.
A mild winter is really going to make the difference in many areas that are devoid of any hard mast crops at all after another cold, wet spring last year and the expanding threat of beech bark disease. Record cold winters, tree diseases, heavy snow cover, and less organized supplemental feeding than in past years adds up to fewer wild turkeys in many parts of northern Michigan.
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. Although you’ll still find wild turkeys in some areas, in others you can drive 100 miles and never see one single wild turkey. That tells you, right there, that where ever you do see turkeys, someone was feeding them during the last two winters. It simply wouldn’t have been possible for those birds to survive the challenges of the winters of 2014 and 2015.
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.
Good news for all of us is coming any day now. A robotic wild turkey decoy was purchased for the use of DNR Law Enforcement officers in northwestern lower Michigan by the Pere Marquette and Traverse Bay Chapters of MWTHA and the Bellaire Conservation Club of Bellaire, Michigan. We hope it catches lots of road hunters this spring!
Which should help to prove, once again, to the NRC that the Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association does not “hate the DNR”. As we said last year, nothing could be further from the truth. We certainly wouldn’t spend $1100 of our hard earned money to help the DNR catch crooks if that were true!
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, and have a great spring season!