Thursday, March 31, 2011

Turkey talk with guv and Nuge

MAHFS photo by Zac Arnold
In between shots on the back balcony of my favorite archery practice range.

By Mac Arnold
MAHFS editor

I understand that everyone's favorite Michigan rocker and outdoorsman Ted Nugent stopped by Gov. Rick Snyder's office Thursday to discuss a couple of hunting regulations he would like lifted in the Great Lakes State.

The two regs most prominently in question by Nugent were the need for a license to hunt wild turkeys and the requirement to keep a hunting bow in a zipped case during transport.

I can say for myself the turkey requirements that bug me most are having to put into a spring lottery to draw a tag and then having a restriction on where I can hunt.

It burns my hide that for the hunt I usually choose -- Hunt 234 -- which runs from May 2 to May 31 this season -- I can't hunt the public land that's practically right across the street from me.


And if I do want to hunt public land for turkeys, I have to travel at least an hour or more north of the designated Unit ZZ line that goes through the middle of the state.


I'm fairly certain the reason for this is because Michigan holds a large contingent of hunters and the Department of Natural Resources is worried hunters would be bumping into one another on state lands.

However, if this is the case, I say rubbish because Pennsylvania, a state I've hunted in years gone by has a comparable amount of hunters and has no such restriction, and as far as I have experienced -- no problems.

I can walk into a Pa. Wally's World, ask for a spring turkey tag, pay the required amount, get the tag and head to any public land spot open to turkey hunting in the state and have at it.

Same in West Virginia, another state I've hunted over the years, which also has quite a few spring turkey hunters.

No restrictions. No hassles.

When I've brought this up to DNR officials, I've gotten a response something to the effect -- "Oh, there are plenty of farmers and private land owners who would let you or even want you to shoot turkeys off their land."

OK, well maybe I don't have the time or money to go looking up and down the state to find a place to hunt the dirty birds on private land this time around. And besides, who pays for our public land anyway?

I do, you do, hunters do, that's who.

Michigan needs to get with it and quit harassing its hunters in the name of fabricated potential problems.

As far as the license goes, I don't mind this aspect half as much, although as we all know free is better. But yank the lottery aspect of it.

Seems like it would also be a cost saver just having one tag to cover one time period, say for instance, the last Saturday in April to the last Saturday in May.

With compounds and crossbows, having them cased in or on vehicles to include ATVs while traveling on roads to and from hunting locations, is OK with me I suppose. I see this as way to help prevent poaching from vehicles.

Recurves and long bows, no worries, as long as they are unstrung.


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