Today Jan. 31st. is the last day to apply for a Michigan Spring turkey permit. Drawing results will be posted March 3rd. There are several rule changes this year as the state has added the need to buy a “base” license before any other licenses can be purchased! As far as I know they have not put a price on this new way to get in your wallet, and so far details are kind of sketchy. There are also some changes for the 0234 hunt which can be found on page 12 of the 2014 Spring turkey Digest.
Turkey hunting success has gone up substantially since I first started hunting the birds 40 years ago. In the early days about 10% of hunters harvested a bird, but now the hunter success rate is 30 percent. Michigan ranks as one of the best states in the nation to harvest an Eastern Gobbler! Over the years I’ve harvested these “beautifully ugly” birds from the Upper peninsula to the farm fields of the far southern counties. Nothing gets my heart pumping like seeing a big old “longbeard” strutting into my decoy setup where my lovesick calling has led him! Tail fanned, wing tips dragging the ground, chest puffed out like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and doing his 360 degree dance is something to behold. What great memories I have of hunts in northern woodlots, U.P. honey holes, and southern farm lots. A few years ago I shot a Tom with a coveted 12 inch beard about 600 yards from my back door. The heaviest Tom I ever shot was in Jackson Michigan hunting with my grandson Quinn. This bird tipped the scales at just under 27 pounds. What great memories! That bird is on my wall with its unusual coloring (like a Merriam) and it’s thick long beard. In the early days I shot a flying bird with a small 5 inch beard that turned out to be a female! Michigan regulations state it’s legal to shoot one (1) bearded turkey. The reason for the wording is because on occasion a female will have a beard. since that time I have seen several hens sporting 10 inch “trophy” beards.
The spring is a great time to be in the woods, and now with the “youth mentor program” I can get my grandkids involved in the hunt. I have yet to get them a bird, but I’m hopeful this year. My grandson Jacob took a good Tom last year hunting with his dad Tony. I hunt the 0234 hunt which gives me almost a month to put a bird in the freezer. I am looking so forward to getting after a big Tom with Kyle and Ava that I’m going crazy looking at these 3-4 foot snowbanks!
Hope you all got your applications in alright. You can still do it online till the end of the day. I’ll post some pictures of past successful hunts. If you haven’t tried it you don’t know what your missing. It is a “THRILL!”