ED GILBERT: Turkeys are next target

By Ed Gilbert • Last Updated 10:33 am on Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The season dates for the Michigan fall wild turkey hunt are Sept. 15-Nov. 14, and with September just around the corner it’s time for serious hunters to get serious.

I refer mostly to scouting for those sneaky birds, unless you have 20-or-so wandering around your farm or have a huge strutter tied up somewhere! (Na, you wouldn’t do that, would you?).

Well now, according to the DNR we have a lot of birds in the area. They say we have around 275,000 throughout the state, so there are plenty to hunt. However, the prediction is that the harvest will be only fair in the north or in the Upper Peninsula, while prospects look good for the southern part of the state.

Hunting hours are set for a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset. Both  morning and evening hours have proved good for me as with many other hunters, but I still prefer to get in the woods early in the morning and set up near a roosting tree.

And, if you haven’t located a good roosting tree already, and don’t have turkeys roaming your property already, now would be a good time to find a spot where they roost at night so you can scout the direction they move in when they come down from the roost. That, of course, will give you the advantage.

Well now, if you don’t find where they roost you can always locate sign. That’s normally along a path they take and mostly on a daily basis. Look for scratching or feathers. Those birds, smart as they seem, do follow a daily routine and if they’re in a particular spot one day they’ll likely be there again the following day.

Also, it’s a good idea to practice your calling ahead of time. Many times it will bring a gobbler within range. Ah, but not always. One season I called for about an hour as a strutter kept circling all around me, but out of range. I finally game up in disgust and returned to my truck to find the big fellow dusting himself in the two-track right alongside my pickup! Now, I wouldn’t take advantage of a situation like that, would I?

The bag limit this fall is one bird of either sex, but many hunters will try for a gobbler the first few days and take a hen then if necessary.

As a note, a Hunter Education is required for those born after Jan. 1, 1960.

So do some scouting and get in some practice calling now. Don’t wait until the day before your season opens, when you could scare your favorite turkey out of next year’s growth rate by prowling about in his territory… Good hunting!

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