Thursday, April 12, 2012

Upcoming turkey season

On April 6, I went salmon fishing with George Boesch at his Lake Huron home but we were unable to connect while battling the chop along the beach. He texted me Friday and showed he had it wired by trolling from his small boat with blue-speckled pink spoons. Way to go, George.
MAHFS photo by George Boesch

By Mac Arnold
MAHFS Editor

One morning not too long ago I cracked the morning constitution -- "Outdoor Life" -- and was stunned to see a turkey hunting snippet suggest we hunters have seen the best there is as kills go and prepare for a down period.

In "Should turkey hunters be worried?" there was a graphic -- the "Gobbler Gauge" -- and four states -- South Carolina, Missouri, New York and Ohio -- were profiled and all saw anywhere from 30 percent drop-offs in total record kills to even a 58 percent crash for New York since the early 2000s.

Gulp! Not a mood setter for April when the spring turkey opener is just weeks away.

But I've recently been talking to Michigan Department of Natural Resource Upland Bird Specialist Al Stewart for an article that is set to run April 29 in The Macomb Daily's upcoming "Sporting Michigan" special section.

And although I was putting together quotes for a spring turkey preview, I still wanted to ask him about the OL article.

He was able to put me somewhat at ease by saying the Great Lake State has yet to crest in its total kills for a season before we will get into a series of alternating peaks and valleys once we hit that number. He did say we were getting close.

What is likely more at issue is the consecutive poor hatches we have had -- three straight -- and Stewart said the same was happening in those states as well to include Iowa.

Despite this, "we should see good to excellent turkey hunting this season," he said, noting our state has a thriving overall turkey population at 200,000 birds.

"Michigan is ranked sixth in turkey hunting harvest and is considered as having some of the best quality turkey hunting of anywhere in the nation," Stewart added.

Well, all right, I like what I hear.


Last weekend I went coyote hunting in Sanilac County, Mich., and was entertained by watching a healthy deer herd at a friend's farm. Unfortunately, camera phones just can't get in close enough, but the deer were mostly within 50 yards or more of our elevated blind.
MAHFS photo by Mac Arnold

Sometimes being at the right place at the right time can bring a surprise when outdoors.

I went coyote hunting at my friend John P.'s farm in Sanilac County last weekend, and while no dogs were taken, the deer herd there stepped up to center stage.

His family plants alfalfa and the deer are quite happy there. Well, except maybe once October hits.

At one point as dusk began to fall, practically every deer in the area streamed under our elevated blind and were oblivious of any of our movements or calls. They were totally content and so were we watching the 20 ruminants play and prance about.

That's why the hunting game is a never-know proposition.


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