The time to prepare for spring turkey hunting season is now
Rick Taylor | Contributor
It’s hard to believe the spring turkey season is almost upon us once again — especially when you consider how darn cold, wet and miserable it is outside. But, before you know it the leaves will be forming on the trees, and tulips will be showing their beautiful colors.
It used to be difficult to get a turkey license in Michigan. Many applied, but only a select few would get picked from a lottery system. Thankfully, those days are gone, and you’re all but guaranteed a tag in our geographic location.
The wild turkey is considered by some to be an ugly bird. But, I beg to differ.
Benjamin Franklin tried to make the Wild Turkey our national bird; the Bald Eagle eventually won out.
Our ancestors relied on the wild turkey for nutrition. The Native Americans subsequently discovered the features of a wild turkey greatly improved the flight characteristics of their wooden arrows. As a matter of fact, turkey feathers are still used in the manufacture of arrows which fly better and look a lot nicer than the plastic feathers.
Organic farmers and consumers alike will agree that wild turkey tastes great. Their meat is all natural and doesn’t come loaded with the chemical enhancement we see in domestic turkeys.
Wild turkeys are amazingly difficult to hunt and the success rates among hunters are amazingly low.
Yet, we try like the dickens every year.
So, what’s the allure you might ask? Well, anti-hunters will say its bloodlust, but I respectfully agree. I love the taste of turkey; it’s simple as that. Now, I can’t raise them where I live, so I must hunt them instead. By the way, smoked turkey tastes like heaven on earth.
I love going into the woods and meadows in search of this elusive bird. I bring my wooden longbow and wooden arrows and pray one will come close enough so I can help it meet its maker.
There are only three sounds in this world that will put a shiver down my spine. The first is an elk bugle, the second is a red stag roaring in New Zealand, and the third is a wild turkey gobbling.
The male turkey displays his dominance and sexual interest to hens by gobbling to other turkeys. A Tom or Gobbler will fan out his tail feathers to impress the hens or scare off other inferior male turkeys. There’s a lot of wildlife biology I’m leaving out for simplicity sake.
Both male and female turkeys have luminescent feathers; they shimmer as the sunlight hits their feathers. These rainbow like colors are so gorgeous; they work great in fly fish tying.
My advice to turkey hunters is to get out and start scouting before the season begins on Monday. The Toms/Gobblers are calling already and actively looking for hens to mate with, even if for a little while. The secret to success is finding a location with a lot of turkeys, blending into your surroundings and shooting straight.
Few people know the wild turkey has amazing vision and can also see in color. I’ve been spotted and busted at 300 yards away by the simple wave of my hand swatting a fly from my face.
Good luck to you who go out and brave the early spring weather; be safe and enjoy the wonders of the woods. I’ve been asked what’s so exciting about turkey hunting and my answer is always the same. I tell people that I’m either watching the sun come up or going down every time I go out; it doesn’t get much better than that.
This story is dedicated to two men who gave their lives in the line of duty defending each one of us. Chelsea Police Chief Scott Sumner and Chelsea Fire Captain Matt Tuttle were killed in a helicopter crash while searching for a fugitive in Scio Township on April 13, 2006. It’s been five years but the loss is no less profound for those who knew these brave souls. You will never be forgotten.
Your comments and story ideas are warmly welcomed. Rick Taylor can be reached at 734-223-5656 cell or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.