ED GILBERT: Thinking about spring turkey hunt

By Ed Gilbert • Last Updated 9:57 am on Monday, February 17, 2014

I know it’s colder than a well digger’s auger outside and the snow is up to one’s stacking swivel, but it’s also time to begin thinking about this coming spring’s wild turkey season.

And the season is coming on fast, so I hope most of you scrambled to get your application in.

Yes, we are experiencing a very harsh winter, and so far I have little information from the DNR and others as to turkey survival. But they are indeed a hardy bird and will likely pull through.

Although some winter feeding is taking place in some areas, by organizations and individuals alike, I’ve been unable to get in to the cabin up north at my usual hunting grounds. As a result I have no idea what’s in store up there for the coming spring. Perhaps when we get a little break in the weather I’ll find out.

One thing I do after almost every hunt is make notes in a journal, and I just looked back at the year 2001 when we had a similar year of tough weather. Seems the gobblers not only survived that spring but turned out in abundance. So much for bad weather, eh?

As to the actual turkey hunting, most of us use the old shotgun. But on occasion you’ll find someone who uses a bow. And some of them go for a head shot. Wow! Hitting the half-dollar sized brain of a turkey seems like splitting the other shooter’s arrow to me.

Speaking of a turkey’s lemon-sized head, which seems to have eyes both for and aft, I once watched a young boy fire an arrow right through it! A future Robin Hood, I believe he was.

But, regardless of this bad weather at the moment, the days will warm up and we can get some serious turkey and small game hunting in. And Michigan has and will survive. For example, as far back as 1995, Michigan wasn’t even among the top five turkey hunting states. Now we’re right up there with Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Washington, along with some others.

You know, much of the success of the wild turkey in Michigan can be credited to the various outdoor organizations within our state.

One of those is our National Wild Turkey Federation, and I understand that our local chapter, the Flat River Chapter, will be staging its 19th annual Hunting Heritage Banquet on Saturday, March 1. Maybe, with a little luck and if the snow doesn’t rise even more, I’ll see you there.

Meanwhile, think spring and the forthcoming turkey season.

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